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iPhone And iPad Records Locations And Timestamps In Unencrypted File

According to Radar.Oreilly, the new iOS software installed on your iPhone or 3G iPad, regularly records the position of your device into a hidden file. This data stores a comprehensive list of locations and time stamps in a database. To add to the mystery, the file lacks any sort of encryption or protection, leaving the sensitive data at risk to be seen by other individuals. It is unclear what Apple is doing with the information or whether they even know about it. I believe it may be used in the event of a theft, but this is just a guess.

So far, this “leak” only seems to be present on iOS 4. The name of the file that stores your list of locations is called consolidated.db and contains latitude-longitude coordinates of your device along with a timestamp. Now, it doesn’t seem that this data is an immediate threat, but Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden from Radar.Oreilly certainly think it’s an issue to be investigated.

It should also be noted that while cell phone companies have always had this data about your device, it has always been protected information that requires a court order to be shared. Obviously, there is no court order needed when you’ve got an unencrypted file “sitting” there in plain sight. Pete Warden has built an app that allows users to take a peak at their own data and it’s available at petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker. He also suggests thats users encrypt backups through iTunes, just to be safe. Take a look at the video below if you’re interested in learning more.

Photo Courtesy of John F
Photo Courtesy of Andreas B