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Carrier IQ Software May Be in iOS, Too 234

Posted by timothy
from the y'know-to-be-fair dept.
New submitter Howard Beale writes with this excerpt from The Verge: "To date, the user tracking controversy surrounding Carrier IQ has focused primarily on Android, but today details are surfacing that the company also may have hooks into Apple's iOS. Well-known iPhone hacker Chpwn tweeted today that versions at least as recent as iPhone OS 3.1.3 contained references to Carrier IQ and later confirmed it's in all versions of iOS, including iOS 5." The details are still emerging; however, iPhone users will be happy to hear that while it's reported that the software is available to the OS, "the good news is that it does not appear to actually send any information so long as a setting called DiagnosticsAllowed is set to off, which is the default."
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Carrier IQ Software May Be in iOS, Too

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  • by alen (225700) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:39AM (#38225734)

    everything it collects is viewable to the user and you can turn it off in settings > general > about > diagnostics & usage

    • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:49AM (#38225818)

      That's better than my HTC phone which allows you to do the following in settings > About Phone > Tell HTC > Network preference > "When data connection is available" or "When Wi-Fi or cable connection is available".

      I can turn off "Tell HTC" but apparently that is only for error reports relating to HTC Sense.

      No other options for turning off network diagnostics are available.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Confirmed that with tcpdump have you? Apple have hidden / obfuscated this nasty software hoping no one would notice it. That's pretty damning in itself, even if they have the decency to give it a config screen (assuming the screen is real and the code honors the settings).

      • by alen (225700) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:59AM (#38225926)

        the log files are right there in the phone and you can easily see them

        this sounds like the issue with the touchpad where HP had the diagnostics set to max and the performance was crap. except in this case the manufacturers are using twice the RAM and twice the MHz CPU's for android phones compared to the iphone to make up for the overhead of this software.

        most of the tech geeks creaming themselves over specs are idiots because they don't realize it's just for crap like this

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        That's funny cause I don't remember Goggle, HTC, etc. telling anyone about this on Android phones. Oh, I forgot. Apple baaaaaad!

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          That's funny cause I don't remember Goggle, HTC, etc. telling anyone about this on Android phones. Oh, I forgot. Apple baaaaaad!

          Google never installed it. HTC neither. Sprint, AT&T, etc. did. In Apple's case Apple is the one that installed it (if it's there).

        • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @01:07PM (#38228662)

          There is a big difference: Google does not provide this software as part of their Android distribution, and Google has not installed it on any of the Nexus phones that they sell. For Android, Carrier IQ is third party software that has been installed by some carriers. That makes the carriers responsible, not Google. It is not even clear that Google knew what third-party software carriers ship on their phones. The carriers have no legal responsibility to impart this information to Google, just like if you sell a pre-installed Ubuntu system you don't have to contact Ubuntu and let them know what you installed.

          In contrast, Apple appears to have shipped this software as part of iOS, and secretly installed it on millions of iPhones without telling anyone. For a long time Apple fanboys have argued that because Apple is in control of the iPhone, and not the carriers, then it is impossible for this kind of crap to happen. It seems the impossible just became reality.

          It's worth noting that whilst Carrier IQ is running for all iOS versions, uploading the logs appears to be turned off by default on iOS3/4, but it is not known how or when it gets turned on. On iOS 5, Carrier IQ log uploads are controlled by the “Submit Logs to Apple” option on iOS setup. Most users would probably trust Apple with their logs, right? So most iOS 5 users probably have Carrier IQ uploading their logs right now.

    • by ugen (93902) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @10:14AM (#38226066)

      Not on iOS 4.3.3 - there is no such option here. So I can't turn off this "mis-feature" on my iPhone.

      It seems Apple added it in iOS 5, and did so only after the public became somewhat aware of their diagnostic collection practices, as a measure of damage control perhaps?

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        Nothing in iOS 3.1.3 either, which is the highest version that can be used with a first-generation iPod touch.

    • I have a ... friend ... who regularly posts on Facebook every hyperbolic Apple story he can find. Apple might as well have mailed a tanto, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and a picture of Steve Jobs banging their S.O. to every Foxconn employee, Apple was the only company that kept cell tower logs which they only kept so they could place you at the scene of a murder if you decided not to buy the next iPhone, and the iPhone 4's antenna gave such poor reception because it wasn't an antenna at all, it was a transmitt

    • It is kind of neat to look at the logs, but it's amazing to me that my phone is writing logs every 5-10 minutes. It takes me 2 minutes to scroll to the bottom of the LIST of logs, which are only about two weeks of data.

    • by Fahrvergnuugen (700293) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @10:35AM (#38226302) Homepage
      Anyone who wanted to know what is collected and sent only had to click the "About Diagnostics & Privacy" link in iOS directly under neath the switch you have to hit to turn it on:

      Apple would like your help to improve the quality and performance of its products and services. Your device can automatically collect diagnostic and usage information and send it to Apple for analysis — but only with your explicit consent.

      Diagnostic and usage information may include details about hardware and operating system specifications, performance statistics, and data about how you use your device and applications. None of the collected information identifies you personally. Personal data is either not logged at all or is removed from any reports before they’re sent to Apple. You can review the information by going to Settings, tapping General, tapping About and looking under Diagnostics & Usage.

      If you have consented to provide Apple with this information, and you have Location Services turned on, the location of your device may also be sent to help Apple analyze wireless or cellular performance issues (for example, the strength or weakness of a cellular signal in a particular location). This diagnostic location data may include the location of your device once per day, or the location where a call ends. You may choose to turn off Location Services for Diagnostics at any time. To do so, open Settings, tap Location Services, tap System Services and turn off the Diagnostics switch.

      You may also choose to turn off Diagnostics altogether. To do so, open Settings, tap General, tap About and choose “Don’t Send” under Diagnostics & Usage.

      To help Apple’s partners and third-party developers improve their apps, products and services designed for use with Apple products, Apple may provide such partners or developers with a subset of diagnostic information that is relevant to that partner’s or developer’s app, product or service, as long as the diagnostic information is aggregated or in a form that does not personally identify you.

      For more information, see Apple’s Privacy Policy at www.apple.com/privacy

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @01:43PM (#38229308) Journal

        The problem here is that HTC phone that was previously dissected also has a similar disclaimer, and a switch to disable logging... the problem is that CarrierIQ software actually does more than what that disclaimer described, and was not fully affected by any switches. In particular, it's a keylogger.

        Of course, it's a big question whether CarrierIQ in iOS is anything like the one in Android. But, at this point, the fact that the name is even present at all is a big red flag.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      That's performance reports to Apple, not to the carrier. Carrier IQ is something else. Although reports are that it's disabled (and the code has been neglected) in iOS.

    • No, you can't turn it off. You can (un)check a box that determines whether the collected data is transmitted to Apple (or so it says). But the data is still collected, and is still visible to the carrier. Also, (at least some of) the data is still visible to anyone in momentary possession of the iPhone.
  • Handset Or Carrier? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Is this software specific to various handsets or is it specific to the carrier?

    So far it has seemed to me that this guy is using Sprint and thier phones seem to have it. But, people on AT&T are reporting that their phones do not have it.

    Does anyone know for sure?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:57AM (#38225902)

      I used to work in the EU for a US phone manufacturer (starts with an 'M'), and mid-2009, integrating CIQ became a mandatory requirement for products that were to be bought by AT&T. This was the first time a carrier asked for this, and at the time, the requested info came mainly from the modem side (signal levels, dropped calls stats, network conditions and so on). Carriers use CIQ-logged info to monitor the health of their network and spot potential problem areas. I would say that this is more of a carrier-thing, and not specific to one handset or another.

      I don't know if the list of required info kept growing or who asked for application-side info like Google searches and text messages' content, though...

      (Posting anon because I don't know what laws/contracts I am potentially breaking...)

  • Reassuring? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jc42 (318812) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:49AM (#38225814) Homepage Journal

    "the good news is that it does not appear to actually send any information so long as a setting called DiagnosticsAllowed is set to off, which is the default."

    This is supposed to be reassuring? How many people will ever read about this? And how long until it's turned on by default? Or perhaps turned on by a remote message.

    I've found it useful as an example for people who don't understand why we need free/open software. This story simply means that if you use your phone to access anything that is protected by a password (or PIN or whatever), that little hidden bit of software is making a copy of your login, password, account numbers, etc., and sending it off to some site that you know nothing about. Whoever has that information can then get into your account and do as they like with it. I've seen a lot of worried looks, and I know a number of people who have held off on the idea of using their phone to access their bank accounts as a result of this information.

    I try to get the idea across that, as long as there's any software that's not freely available to us software geeks ("hackers" to the media), so that we can study it and expose such little nasties, nobody's information or accounts or identities can be considered safe. This sort of software can and does send all your private information to some unknown strangers.

    • Re:Reassuring? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:58AM (#38225906)

      Because we all know it's impossible to hide such things like trojans in foss without anyone noticing for months on end, right? Oh wait... [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:Reassuring? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rayd75 (258138) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @10:03AM (#38225952)

      I've found it useful as an example for people who don't understand why we need free/open software. ...

      You might want to re-think that after reading the article, including its updates. Ironically, the (closed, walled garden) Apple version appears to send only diagnostic data that could be conceivably used for legitimate troubleshooting of dropped calls and the like whereas the (free, open) Android version is more akin to a rootkit, complete with backdoor and key logger.

      • by DeadCatX2 (950953)

        I can put CyanogenMod on my Android handset. I can load ROMs based on carrier firmware that has CIQ removed.

        Thanks to Open Source Software, I have this choice.

        • by rayd75 (258138)

          I can put CyanogenMod on my Android handset. I can load ROMs based on carrier firmware that has CIQ removed.

          Thanks to Open Source Software, I have this choice.

          Agreed... but you represent maybe a couple percent of total Android users in regard to your ability and will to do that. My son tells me that Android runs great on his first gen iPhone... so I guess Android provides the same benefit to similarly-minded Apple users. The remaining ones are stuck with a "Automatically Send / Don't Send" radio button. What do the other 98% of Android device owners have?

        • by Cogneato (600584)

          Does your mom have this choice? I know mine would have no clue. The most tech-savvy of the population aren't the ones we should be concerned about. The people that this affects the most are the ones that receive a device that is set to log their keystrokes and never really know to ask about it.

          The open source community, of which I am part of, expresses the benefits of using of open source software, but when something like this negatively affects the masses, their answer is always one that is not readily kno

          • Re:Reassuring? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jc42 (318812) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @11:43AM (#38227120) Homepage Journal

            Does your mom have this choice? I know mine would have no clue.

            Similarly with mine. But this is perhaps best answered with the canonical auto analogy: My mom also wouldn't have a clue about her car's transmission. Does that mean that transmissions should be "closed" systems that can't be worked on by independent experts (both professional and amateur)?

            Saying that something should be "open" doesn't imply that we think that everyone is expected to hack at it themselves. It means that people who don't (care to) know about the details can hire someone who does know. That way people can get their gadgets' problems diagnosed and fixed. Without this, diagnosis and repair can only be done by the manufacturer's people. Many corporations have a history of hiding known problems even when people are dying from them.

            If your only choice is to take it to the dealer, you've just been set up as an easy mark. And when it comes to the low-level details of comm devices, you've been set up to have your identity stolen and your bank accounts emptied. You only defense against this is to insist that your stuff (whose innards you don't care about) be open to investigation by people other than the ones who sold it to you.

            Actually, the auto analogy applies there pretty well, too. Lots of large organizations have their own auto/truck maintenance & repair departments. They don't buy vehicles without shop manuals, because they want their own people to do the repairs. This isn't saying that everyone who buys a vehicle should have a shop manual and do their own repairs. It's just saying that you'd be a fool to buy a vehicle for which the shop manuals aren't available. Without shop manuals, a vehicle generally doesn't sell well to large organizations who can afford their own staff of experts.

            (Though this analogy does have its limits. There are a few high-end extremely expensive cars whose buyers always have work done by a dealer's specialized mechanics. This might apply to super-computers, too. But in those cases, the specialized mechanics still have all the manuals they need to work on the low-level components. And such cars aren't mass-market products.)

      • You might want to re-think what you said. How would we even KNOW about Carrier IQ if Android wasn't open enough to find out?
        • by rayd75 (258138)

          You might want to re-think what you said. How would we even KNOW about Carrier IQ if Android wasn't open enough to find out?

          Um, by reading the "diagnostic and logging" screen that pops-up during the initial configuration of my phone? By looking at the logged data in the settings menu? The only thing that we've learned today is that the diagnostics and logging system in iOS is vaguely-tied to CarrierIQ. It's not been a secret that it's there and there's no evidence that it does anything more than what it discloses to every new user. Yesterday, it didn't have a name. Today, it does.

      • by chrb (1083577)

        the (free, open) Android version is more akin to a rootkit

        Carrier IQ is not free or open. The post you responded to was arguing that closed source is more difficult to analyse, which is clearly true. If Carrier IQ were open source, we would have known about it years ago, and we wouldn't need to reverse engineer it to figure out what, when and how it's doing what it does, and under what conditions the logs get transferred to remote servers, etc.

        I would also argue that, as much as we dislike Carrier IQ, it isn't really a rootkit - the software itself makes no effo

    • Re:Reassuring? (Score:4, Informative)

      by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <{taiki} {at} {cox.net}> on Thursday December 01, 2011 @10:12AM (#38226048)

      When you activate an iOS device, it prompts you if you want to send this data. Further more, if you go into the device settings, and look at the diagnostics, it shows you all the files it's storing and what exactly it's reporting.

      Granted, it could be doing something else behind the scenes, but this is more than what you're getting with the Android Carrier IQ(As someone pointed out on The Talk Show, a great oxymoron) installs.

    • This is supposed to be reassuring? How many people will ever read about this? And how long until it's turned on by default? Or perhaps turned on by a remote message.

      On the latest version of iOS, on the welcome screen on first boot it explicitly asks you if you want to turn on the sending of diagnostics and stuff like location services. This was Apple's response to the privacy kerfuffle after the location tracking thing. Yes I am disappointed it's even in there but Apple is doing the right thing here by disabling it by default.

      I've found it useful as an example for people who don't understand why we need free/open software. This story simply means that if you use your phone to access anything that is protected by a password (or PIN or whatever), that little hidden bit of software is making a copy of your login, password, account numbers, etc., and sending it off to some site that you know nothing about. Whoever has that information can then get into your account and do as they like with it. I've seen a lot of worried looks, and I know a number of people who have held off on the idea of using their phone to access their bank accounts as a result of this information.

      CERT Advisory CA-2002-24 Trojan Horse OpenSSH Distribution [cert.org]

    • Re:Reassuring? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Tom (822) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @11:37AM (#38227046) Homepage Journal

      If anything, this demonstrates why Free Software alone is not the answer. In this case, the closed-source iOS is actually respecting your privacy more than the Open Source Android.

      You still think that code is the answer, but it isn't. Dennis Richie demonstrated long ago how even access to the full source doesn't make you safe. As long as there is a part in the chain that you don't control, you can be fucked over.

      This is a place where actually the legal solution is simpler, easier and more reliable than the technical one. Pass a couple good laws (the "good" part is where our current incompetend corrupt breed of wannabe-politicians are challenged) and enforce them. Sure, it doesn't give you the same 100% security that an EAL7 solution with explicit privacy specifications would - but it's not SciFi and it will work good enough for practical purposes the same way that making murder illegal doesn't prevent it completely, but well enough that in most of the civilized world where the rule of law works, people don't give the extremely remote possibility of being murdered a thought.

  • Angry Birds (Score:5, Funny)

    by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:51AM (#38225832) Homepage

    In other news, hackers have discovered that the game, Angry Birds, mysteriously turns on a setting called "DiagnosticsAllowed".

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:52AM (#38225840) Homepage
    Good news: last time you looked, he was still sitting in the back and hadn't stabbed you yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:53AM (#38225846)

    Here's my "diagnostic log" or at least one of them:

    deviceId: "aac0e3b1805c47f85e759c5d............"
    isAnonymous: true
    deviceConfigId: 101
    triggerTime: 1320879763561
    triggerId: 72014
    profileId: 1012
    investigationId: 0
    bluetoothServiceDisconnectionResult {
    timestamp: 1320879561
    deviceOUI: "\00\066="
    service: 8
    result: 104981
    }

    seems a bit less intrusive than the one demoed yesterday.

    • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @10:23AM (#38226186)

      seems a bit less intrusive than the one demoed yesterday.

      Seems so : [chpwn.com]

      "Importantly, it does not appear the daemon has any access or communication with the UI layer, where text entry is done. I am reasonably sure it has no access to typed text, web history, passwords, browsing history, or text messages, and as such is not sending any of this data remotely."

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:53AM (#38225852) Journal

    ...when they wrote iOS? Weird.

    I can understand it being found on Android devices since individual phone companies (who are absolute sh** at making software - personal experience) would want to avoid doing it themselves, but Apple?

  • by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent...jan...goh@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:54AM (#38225868) Homepage

    Not only is it off by default, apparently it's only allowed to access information at a layer that doesn't give away the farm. It's not recording your keypresses, the sites you visit (which apparently the HTC version does even if you're on WiFi) or anything else that's possibly a significant security risk. Supposedly, it really does act just as it's claimed to in the press releases.

    (I'm aware that I use 'apparently' and 'supposedly'; I have no concrete info that I've tested myself, this is just what I've read today.)

  • Android (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot&spad,co,uk> on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:56AM (#38225884) Homepage

    Interestingly, it looks like the "pure" Android phones (i.e the Nexus line) don't ship with CarrierIQ [theverge.com]

  • by Kamiza Ikioi (893310) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @10:12AM (#38226038) Homepage

    The question is, can a government agency or anyone else call up Apple or a carrier and have them remotely activate CarrierIQ on the iPhone?

    I don't care if it's "off by default". I care if it's "controlled by the user". There's a clear and concise distinction, and Apple's track record does not lead me to believe that Apple doesn't have absolute control to remotely activate this or any other setting at their discretion. Even if they were unable to before, they may have added that remote capability since they've lost several phones before.

    • The question is, can a government agency or anyone else call up Apple or a carrier and have them remotely activate CarrierIQ on the iPhone?

      Apple wanted to provide carriers with some means of diagnosing certain faults, and did that. They are not telling you exactly what they do, but diagnostics will only be turned on if you want to. Quite possible that if you had problems with your phone, and called your carrier for support, they might ask you to turn this software on - so they can diagnose this problem.

      If Apple wanted to spy on you, you wouldn't notice. Same as with this idiotic outrage about location data stored on your phone: That data is

    • What if you decided to become one later? We've got our eyes on you.

      Denying it just makes you look more guilty.

    • It wouldn't matter if they did because the version in iOS is completely anonymized.
    • by Assmasher (456699)

      You damn skippy!

  • It is actually required to be integrated for all devices for certain carriers (this includes Data Cards).
  • I'll echo many of the other comments here: It's not really the fact it logs everything. The question is what is it doing with that information.

    While I'm not a full-fledged hacker, I know enough about logging and event triggering to know that the computer has to be able to keep track of events so that things that rely on events can be triggered. The best examine is browser events. If there's code to pop-up a window on a click, the browser has to register the click somewhere and the handler has to then pas

    • by LDAPMAN (930041)

      Caught with their pant down? The first thing that pops up when you turn on the iPhone for the first time is a box explaining this and asking if you want to allow it. Thats not exactly hiding it. As someone posted above there is also a very lengthy explanation and the actual log files available on the control panel that allows you to turn it off. Some conspiracy.

  • I am just going to guess that Android devices that were rooted and run custom ROMs don't have Carrier IQ installed. If that is the case, everyone should bitch and whine about the right to have root access on their devices, and the right to add whatever freaking ROM they want. If the carriers are keylogging their devices, we should be able to disable that feature. If they don't let us do that, we should be able to wipe off their spyware.

  • There appears to be more privacy issues beyond monitoring in the phone. My Smartphone (GT-I9100 v.2.3.4) won't allow access to https://www.google.com./ [www.google.com] It also doesn't allow the addition of private certificate authorities or the removal of bad ones. To make matters worse, it won't display the fingerprint of a certificate. So the only option is to accept, on faith, the issuer name displayed. It seems obvious that the handset makers don't care about privacy or potential harm to customers.

  • by Relayman (1068986) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @01:05PM (#38228614)
    I have D&U turned on on my iPhone 4S. Why? Because I'm a geek and if I can help out some other geeks at Verizon or Apple, so be it. But, guess what? I can see what's transmitted, no rooting required. Here's a typical entry:

    deviceid: "xxx"
    isAnonymous: true
    deviceConfigid: 101
    triggerTime: 1322150199352
    triggerId: 655363
    profileId: 10109
    investigationId: 0
    locationaUpdateSession {
    timestamp: 1322150199351
    timestampEnd: 1322150199351
    desiredAccuracy: 1000
    cellAvailable: true
    wifiAvailable: true
    passcodeLocked: false
    airplaneMode: false
    ttff: 0
    ttffGps: -1
    bundleid: "com.apple.weather"
    achievedAccuracy: 99
    }

    Enjoy your paranoia! I refuse to participate.

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