Apple iOS contains snooping-friendly features, says security researcher

Apple iPhone 5S
Apple iPhone 5S is one of the many devices compromised

Apple has had to rebuff claims (again) that it has included some features that could allow third parties to gather data from devices without users knowing.

Security researcher, Jonathan Zdziarski, reckons that Apple doesn't do enough to protect data through encryption.

He explained that once a device is first unlocked after reboot, most of the encrypted data is accessible until the device is shut down.

"Your device is almost always at risk of spilling all data, since it's almost always authenticated, even while locked," Zdziarksi added.

He highlighted the fact that some services run in iOS that shouldn't be there and were "intentionally added by Apple as part of the firmware".

He stopped short of accusing Apple of deliberately adding these to facilitate mass spying from intelligence agencies like the NSA.

Apple's forceful denial

Apple sent a statement to iMore explaining that "We have designed iOS so that its diagnostic functions do not compromise user privacy and security, but still provides needed information to enterprise IT departments, developers and Apple for troubleshooting technical issues."

It further added, "A user must have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer before that computer is able to access this limited diagnostic data. The user must agree to share this information, and data is never transferred without their consent."

Apple's statement ended by highlighting the fact that it "has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services."

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.