Greg's bite: Apple iNSECURE for business use
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: Apple iNSECURE for business use

By Greg Mills

This is important news, Apple Mac, iPhone and iPad are not suitable for business use.

While Apple has been pushing for respect from the business community due to increased security features found on Mac computers, iPhone and iPad, it seems they were at the same time secretly gathering location data from unsuspecting users. Apple intentionally created a permanent cache on iPhones and iPad that records its users locations with date stamps.  

This cache is persistently and insecurely backed up on the computer used to sync with the iOS device. This makes both iOS devices absolutely unsuitable for business use due to "location record insecurity."   

On Thursday, CNN broke the story on network TV regarding the surprising intentional insecurity of the Apple infrastructure regarding stored location information. This data was gathered without users opting in and without any way to opt out. The disclosure regarding "location services" found in the iTunes agreement you must agree with to load the software is completely inadequate to inform Apple devices what Apple actually intends to do.

"Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services."

I suggest some additional information they ought to added to the iTunes disclosure:

APPLE intends to track the detailed movements of your iPhone and iPad for our own business purposes using any means at our disposal, GPS, tower locations, WiFi signals or any combination of thereof and make a permanent record of your movements with location time stamped files stored in both the iOS Device and backup that detailed location record on your computer. We will upload that data regularly, at our discretion, to our servers and you will never know we are doing it. Apple doesn't plan to identify you from the location records we upload, but should your computer be lost or stolen your detailed location records and identity will be fully accessible to the thief or who ever finds your Apple device. Further, should someone have physical access to your computer for a little as five minutes they could copy the "Backups" file in your system library and use that file to compromise your detailed and time stamped location data, from the first day you used the device. Apple iOS devices are an open book to computer forensic experts and you may not encrypt or use passwords to make your devices meaningfully secure. Apple will not guarantee that hackers might not be able to remotely gain access to your computer and compromise your location and identity information.  

I am of the opinion a class action lawsuit naming Apple for violation of privacy laws, breech of contract and damages is in absolutely in order. I will personally join as a plaintiff.

Inherent in the iTunes app is programing that automatically sucks location data out of iPhones and iPads when synced to a computer. In Macs the system stores the location data at: Users/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backups/ . The data is very specific and time coded. If you have your iPhone or iPad GPS on all the time, there are records of your every move since you loaded iOS 4.0 or turned the device on for the first time.  

This is not an accident. Reports giving Apple the benefit of the doubt that this is not an intentional act are uneducated and don't understand the sophistication of Apple's engineers. Let there be no mistake: Apple did this on purpose for selfish monetary gain.  

Even with locations services turned off, your iOS devices were still tracking you and still reporting back regularly to Apple. This is clearly without adequate notification or permission of the purchasers of the Apple devices.  

Businesses should certainly consider this intentional breech of user security seriously before buying Mac computers, iPhones and iPads. How long does it take to wake up a sleeping MacBook, insert a blank CD, open the hard drive, select the home file, go to Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backups, drag and drop the Backups file to the CD logo, select "burn disk"? In less than five minutes you have copied the entire location data files for all the iPhones and iPads that ever sync with that computer.

Next, insert the CD into another Mac and then drag and drop the Backups file into the Mobile Sync file of that Mac. Then run the "iPhoneTracker.app and a map pops up divulging the detailed location tracking information of the person you stole the data from.  http://petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker/ . Actually, the map is just the conglomeration of all the data. The exact GPS and time stamp can also be accessed with the Backups file.

"So what?" you may ask. Imagine I am dressed as a plumber, but I am really working as an industrial spy for Google. I gain entry to Steve Jobs' hotel room and spot his MacBook Pro sitting on the bedside table. In less than five minutes I am out the door with a detailed location record of Mr. Jobs' travel over the last year on a CD. I can then figure out every place of business he went for the previous year, where he lives, eats out  and most worrisome, deduce which other businesses he was doing business with. Google might thus gain insight into Apple's business plans. 

In another scenario, I am the top salesman for a company with serious competition in my industry. The competitors would dearly love to develop a complete list of my clients. They send in a spy as above and gather the Backups file from the salesman's Apple computer and then use that detailed location information to develop a list of his clients. What company would like to see that happen?

Apples devices are sold all over the world. What if a Chinese dissident was caught with an iPhone? What about other legal backwater jurisdictions in the world where police can search a smartphone without a warrant, such as Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Ninth US Circuit Court District, (which includes California, Oregon, Washington State, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana and Nevada). To get location information in those privacy deprived places police upon their discretion can copy the entire contents of a smartphone without a warrant or probable cause.  This does not exclude business owned smartphones or iPads.  

That is a problem I call "location insecurity." No business will want to risk that sort of private information getting into the hands of the competition. Apple has just shot itself in the foot in gaining traction in the enterprise market. I strongly advise business users to carefully consider Apple's apparent disregard for location security when making the decision to support iPad and iPhones for business use. These devices are location insecure. 

Apple has violated my trust and I am angry about it. I had a conversation with an Apple Genius at my local Apple store yesterday. I told him who I was and he was aware of MacNews. He told me that even Apple Geniuses were unaware that Apple was storing detailed location services on iOS devices and that he understood my anger and frustration with Apple's behavior. He advised me to email the software engineers who were directly involved with the iOS platform.   

I suggest that a flood of angry email from users and especially iOS developers expressing anger regarding this breech of our trust, that might move Apple to fix the problem quickly.  Go to and tell them what you think.

Trust is earned and betrayal is also earned. I suggest that to restore my trust Apple take the following steps:

1. Admit they were intentionally tracking iOS device owners for Apples location based advertising plans or other selfish purpose without adequate notification to consumers or providing a viable ability to opt out.

2. Quickly provide software updates that will allow users to completely remove all location files on both iOS and Mac devices.

3. Provide information regarding "location files" hidden on computers.

4. Provide a GPS logo in the home screen of iPhones and iPads indicating GPS/Locations services are on

5. Publicly state that Apple will never track its customers again without explicated permission in the future.

Today's Greg's Bite is out of the big Apple

(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He's also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg's art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at gregmills@mac.com )

 
AAPL
$104.48
Apple Inc.
+1.49
MSFT
$44.81
Microsoft Corpora
+0.43
GOOG
$542.21
Google Inc.
+9.50

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

jAlbum Pro 12.2.4 - Organize your digita...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more
jAlbum 12.2.4 - Create custom photo gall...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.1.7 - Access remote files o...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
OmniOutliner Pro 4.1.3 - Pro version of...
OmniOutliner Pro is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It'... Read more
Evernote 5.6.2 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
OmniOutliner 4.1.3 - Organize your ideas...
OmniOutliner is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
BBEdit 11.0 - Powerful text and HTML edi...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Apple Security Update 2014-005 - For OS...
Apple Security Update is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X. For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/... Read more
EyeTV 3.6.6 - Watch and record TV on you...
EyeTV brings a rich TV experience to your Mac. Watch live TV on your Mac. Pause, rewind, and record whenever you want. EyeTV gives you powerful control over what you watch and how you watch it. Put... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0 - Create template-based...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Jam Messenger Review
Jam Messenger Review By Jennifer Allen on October 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE MESSAGINGiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Want a very quick way to send push-based messages? Jam Messenger is basic... | Read more »
Felllice (Games)
Felllice 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: EXCLUSIVE PRICE DROP! 50% OFF FOR A LIMITED TIME! EAT EAT EAT AND GROW ! | Read more »
The Arrow Game: by Grazie Media (Games)
The Arrow Game: by Grazie Media 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Guide a flying arrow through skyscrapers and city streets to hit a distant target. Experience an endless... | Read more »
Worldly (Games)
Worldly 1.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.2 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Money Pro - EASY! Bills, Budgets and Acc...
Money Pro - EASY! Bills, Budgets and Accounts w/ Sync 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Finance Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Manage money like a pro. Money Pro is the next generation of Money app (over 2 million... | Read more »
Pro Strategy Football 2014 (Games)
Pro Strategy Football 2014 2014.141001 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 2014.141001 (iTunes) Description: Take the proven strategy of the PSF franchise and add in Casual Play, improved graphics and... | Read more »
Super Glyph Quest (Games)
Super Glyph Quest 1.01 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: Adventure is back Questers! Combine elemental glyphs together to cast powerful spells and vanquish adorable monsters in... | Read more »
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Wi...
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Travel to Northern Allansia’s perilous Icefinger Mountains to defeat the wicked Snow Witch in this... | Read more »
Star Warfare 2: Payback Review
Star Warfare 2: Payback Review By Blake Grundman on October 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: ONE-TRICK PONYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for Star Warfare 2’s free-firing fun to turn into... | Read more »
TinType by Hipstamatic (Photography)
TinType by Hipstamatic 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Create hauntingly beautiful, soul capturing portraits with TinType by Hipstamatic. Inspired by daguerreotypes,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

WD My Passport Pro Bus-Powered Thunderbolt RA...
WD’s My Passport Pro RAID solution is powered by an integrated Thunderbolt cable for true portability and speeds as high as 233 MB/s. HighlightsOverviewSpecifications Transfer, Back Up And Edit In... Read more
Save with Best Buy’s College Student Deals
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through November 1st. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more
iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 3 Best Tablets Yet...
The new iPads turned out to be pretty much everything I’d been hoping for and more than I’d expected.”More” particularly in terms of a drinking-from-a-firehose choice of models and configurations,... Read more
Drafts 4 Reinvents iOS Productivity App
N Richland Hills, Texas based Agile Tortoise has announced the release of Drafts 4 for iPhone and iPad. Drafts is a quick capture note taking app with flexible output actions. Drafts 4 scales from... Read more
AT&T accepting preorders for new iPads fo...
AT&T Wireless is accepting preorders for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, cellular models, for $100 off MSRP with a 2-year service agreement: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi + Cellular: $529.99 - 64GB... Read more
Apple offering refurbished Mac Pros for up to...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2013 Mac Pros for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Select MacBook Airs $100 off MSRP, free shipp...
B&H Photo has 2014 a couple of MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Strong iPhone, Mac And App Store Sales Drive...
Apple on Monday announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended September 27, 2014. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion... Read more
Apple Posts How-To For OS X Recovery
OS X 10.7 Lion and later include OS X Recovery. This feature includes all of the tools you need to reinstall OS X, repair your disk, and even restore from a Time Machine backup. OS X Recovery... Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.