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BUSTED! Secret app on millions of phones logs key taps
The Register ^ | 30 November 2011 | Dan Goodin

Posted on 11/30/2011 10:51:57 AM PST by ShadowAce

An Android app developer has published what he says is conclusive proof that millions of smartphones are secretly monitoring the key presses, geographic locations, and received messages of its users.

In a YouTube video posted on Monday, Trevor Eckhart showed how software from a Silicon Valley company known as Carrier IQ recorded in real time the keys he pressed into a stock EVO handset, which he had reset to factory settings just prior to the demonstration. Using a packet sniffer while his device was in airplane mode, he demonstrated how each numeric tap and every received text message is logged by the software.

Ironically, he says, the Carrier IQ software recorded the “hello world” dispatch even before it was displayed on his handset.

Eckhart then connected the device to a Wi-Fi network and pointed his browser at Google. Even though he denied the search giant's request that he share his physical location, the Carrier IQ software recorded it. The secret app then recorded the precise input of his search query – again, “hello world” – even though he typed it into a page that uses the SSL, or secure sockets layer, protocol to encrypt data sent between the device and the servers.

“We can see that Carrier IQ is querying these strings over my wireless network [with] no 3G connectivity and it is reading HTTPS,” the 25-year-old Eckhart says.

The video was posted four days after Carrier IQ withdrew legal threats against Eckhart for calling its software a “rootkit.” The Connecticut-based programmer said the characterization is accurate because the software is designed to obscure its presence by bypassing typical operating-system functions.

In an interview last week, Carrier IQ VP of Marketing Andrew Coward rejected claims the software posed a privacy threat because it never captured key presses.

“Our technology is not real time,” he said at the time. "It's not constantly reporting back. It's gathering information up and is usually transmitted in small doses.”

Coward went on to say that Carrier IQ was a diagnostic tool designed to give network carriers and device manufacturers detailed information about the causes of dropped calls and other performance issues.

Eckhart said he chose the HTC phone purely for demonstration purposes. Blackberrys, other Android-powered handsets, and smartphones from Nokia contain the same snooping software, he claims.

The 17-minute video concluded with questions, including: “Why does SMSNotify get called and show to be dispatching text messages to [Carrier IQ]?” and “Why is my browser data being read, especially HTTPS on my Wi-Fi?”

The Register has put the same questions to Carrier IQ, and will update this post if the company responds. ®


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Technical
KEYWORDS: 1984; atlasshrugged; bigbrother; cellphone; cellphonespyware; rootkit; smartphone; smartphones; smartphonespyware; spyware
Video at link
1 posted on 11/30/2011 10:52:04 AM PST by ShadowAce
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

2 posted on 11/30/2011 10:52:43 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

How many of you DO NOT USE CELL PHONES?

Just wondering if there was anyone left besides me.


3 posted on 11/30/2011 10:55:32 AM PST by Delta 21 (Make your choice ! There are NO civilians.)
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To: ShadowAce

Boom beyotches! bump


4 posted on 11/30/2011 10:57:57 AM PST by spankalib (The Marx-in-the-Parks crowd is a basement skunkworks operation of the AFL-CIO)
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To: Delta 21
I use a cell phone, but it's not a smart phone.
5 posted on 11/30/2011 11:02:30 AM PST by Tony O (hibobbi!)
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To: Delta 21

I rarely have a minute to myself as it is, so I don’t have one either.


6 posted on 11/30/2011 11:02:48 AM PST by Heart of Georgia
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To: ShadowAce

So who is monitoring this flow of information and where in the h*ll are the memory banks? They must be the size of small towns.


7 posted on 11/30/2011 11:05:42 AM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

Probably the same people who are looting the treasury.


8 posted on 11/30/2011 11:08:30 AM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: Delta 21; ShadowAce
...DO NOT USE CELL PHONES?

...Try to limit them to emergencies only. I will be hung by the IFG or by some FReepers for my replies on FR Threads.

9 posted on 11/30/2011 11:08:45 AM PST by gargoyle (...Amendments 1 and 2, a well informed public and a well regulated militia...)
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To: Delta 21

Things like this make me consider going back :\

Then again, I doubt landline phones are any better.


10 posted on 11/30/2011 11:09:31 AM PST by JamesP81
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To: gargoyle

I only use mine occasionally for outgoing calls only.


11 posted on 11/30/2011 11:13:20 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: Delta 21

I got rid of mine. Service is way too expensive. Between that and the satellite tv service I got rid of, I probably save at least $150 a month. Besides, my company gave me a cell phone, but I don’t use it. It usually sits uncharged in my backpack.


12 posted on 11/30/2011 11:13:49 AM PST by shorty_harris
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To: ShadowAce

So what exactly does this mean?


13 posted on 11/30/2011 11:29:36 AM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice)
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To: netmilsmom

Tempest in a teapot.


14 posted on 11/30/2011 11:34:33 AM PST by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: sam_paine

Thanks!


15 posted on 11/30/2011 11:38:41 AM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice)
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To: ShadowAce

I’m sticking with the new Windows Phone

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/

It’s great!


16 posted on 11/30/2011 11:39:55 AM PST by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: Delta 21
How many of you DO NOT USE CELL PHONES?

11.

17 posted on 11/30/2011 11:42:03 AM PST by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Zuben Elgenubi
Where are the "memory banks"?

They are everywhere. Look for intersections of power and transportation networks (optical fiber is installed on both power lines and RR rights of way). The data centers need huge amounts of power. They are the nondescript but huge buildings with no windows or signs on them and high security surrounding them. They are everywhere.




18 posted on 11/30/2011 11:42:43 AM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

You don’t have to save all of it, depending on the value of the information. Where I’ve been and my passwords aren’t of much value...but for specific other people, the value could be very high. The point is that they’re getting this information without any permission or knowledge of the user, and that is an invitation to “be evil”.


19 posted on 11/30/2011 11:55:51 AM PST by bigbob
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To: ShadowAce
Then there's this, about how they track you even when they are off:

Death By Smartphone.

20 posted on 11/30/2011 11:58:43 AM PST by Defiant (President Odinga is setting the stage for chaos in the streets. Obey!)
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To: Delta 21

I have a regular cell phone connected by bluetooth in my car and that’s it.


21 posted on 11/30/2011 12:06:16 PM PST by DB
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To: bigbob
Exactly. They don't tell people they are doing this, and then they deny it when caught. The issue is, who is getting the information? I think there is a concerted effort by the government to place backdoors into every communications medium out there, and then to store it in a database. This has been a concern at least since the Echelon program came to light in the 90s under Clinton, but then it was undoubtedly expanded during the WOT under Bush. Carriers and mobile phone makers have to go along or they will suffer. So they do.

If they were up front about what they track, and people didn't mind, that's fine. People like some on this thread who say they have nothing to hide will just accept that someone out there has every text, call and payment they make. But it should be disclosed to people so they can decide for themselves. Otherwise, it is a constitutional violation if collected by the government, and a civil invasion of privacy if done by a commercial entity.

I'd be fine with a huge suit against the companies involved in this.

22 posted on 11/30/2011 12:07:00 PM PST by Defiant (President Odinga is setting the stage for chaos in the streets. Obey!)
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To: Defiant

You imply the fed gov is pushing the comms companies for this, but then you want to sue the companies?

Why not sue the fed gov? Why kill companies?

If the fed gov is pushing them, suing them will do no good.


23 posted on 11/30/2011 12:11:28 PM PST by AlmaKing
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To: Delta 21
Just wondering if there was anyone left besides me.

No, you are the only one. And now we know who you are and how to find you.

jk

24 posted on 11/30/2011 12:42:18 PM PST by BipolarBob (Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world and she walks into mine.)
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To: Delta 21

No cell phone except for emergencies while travelling. Not a smart phone, whatever they are.


25 posted on 11/30/2011 1:14:53 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: Defiant; All
Don't anyone recall the outrage a few years ago when they found that Apple was doing all this too with iPhones? Apple just brushed it off as “common practice”.
26 posted on 11/30/2011 1:43:05 PM PST by JSteff ((((It was ALL about SCOTUS. Most forget about that and HAVE DOOMED us for a generation or more.))))
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To: ShadowAce

here is there number, I called to ask if there software was on my phone, she said she would have someone call me back, here is the phone number if you wish to do the same;
CARRIER IQ, Inc.
1200 Villa Street, Suite 200
Mountain View, CA 94041 USA
Phone: +1 650 625 5400


27 posted on 11/30/2011 2:05:18 PM PST by big bad easter bunny (Cain 2012)
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To: AlmaKing
And here it is:

Violation of Wiretap Law

You are right, if the government is the problem, then I would sympathize with the companies, and they might have a defense. Only a lawsuit would allow such information to come to light, though. If they are doing this on their own, they are in big trouble. A lawsuit against the feds would not be likely to succeed. You need civil discovery to get the facts out first.

28 posted on 11/30/2011 3:02:43 PM PST by Defiant (President Odinga is setting the stage for chaos in the streets. Obey!)
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To: ShadowAce; All

how does one block or remove it?

(people please save the smart alec remarks)


29 posted on 11/30/2011 3:09:04 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: LucyT; BP2; rxsid; null and void; Candor7; melancholy

passing it along fyi


30 posted on 11/30/2011 4:18:40 PM PST by tutstar (Want pings to Aaron Klein articles and OWS nonsense?)
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To: Delta 21

I would have to include myself because, even though I have a cell phone, it’s a Motorola and very, very old (e.g., has a pull-out antenna). A guy at the car wash saw me using it and laughed like a loon.


31 posted on 11/30/2011 4:26:55 PM PST by Czar (NRA Life Member)
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To: Delta 21

In two years I am dumping mine for a land line. I am tired of cell phones.


32 posted on 11/30/2011 4:36:32 PM PST by Chickensoup (In the 20th century 200 million people were killed by their own governments.)
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To: Czar; little jeremiah; BipolarBob; DB; Revolting cat!; shorty_harris; JamesP81; gargoyle; ...

As long as the call quality stays the same or gets worse, I cant see me needing one too bad. The Motorola bag phones worked great but looked like a Samsonite carry on.

All the tin foil paranoia aside, I just hate the damn things. Very low quality pieces of equipment, why aren’t they waterproof by now? I need insurance for the thing? All the folks that live on the things have been turned into the rudest people I know.

Is anyone that doesn’t cary one or use it very little under the age of 45? .....40?


33 posted on 11/30/2011 4:44:52 PM PST by Delta 21 (Make your choice ! There are NO civilians.)
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To: Delta 21

“As long as the call quality stays the same or gets worse, I cant see me needing one too bad.”

Same here, the quality is horrible. I sometimes borrow my mom’s when I’ve let the house phone go dead. Besides poor sound [an echo down in a drum sound] if I have to stay on it for any length of time, it burns my ear. And it’s supposed to be one of the best.


34 posted on 11/30/2011 5:13:47 PM PST by Heart of Georgia
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To: Heart of Georgia

University town. Driving through the city I sometimes play a game with myself (no, not pocket billiards) betting myself $5 for each young woman I see walking who’s not as I pass her leashed to a cellphone. I seldom lose.


35 posted on 11/30/2011 5:32:55 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Revolting cat!

It would probably be more of a game to count the ones who don’t have phones.

But I’ve done that myself and it’s a pretty good mix of men, women, lots of teens around here. They seem oblivious to everything around them.


36 posted on 11/30/2011 7:50:32 PM PST by Heart of Georgia
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To: ShadowAce

Most of my FReeping is done on a smartphone.


37 posted on 11/30/2011 8:38:00 PM PST by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: Delta 21
"...How many of you DO NOT USE CELL PHONES?..."

I don't use mine. After knowing-for-sure, when I was a kid, that someday, we would all be able to have portable phones that we could carry in our pockets, it came true!

Now, I always forget to pick the damned thing up and take it with me when I leave the house ................................. FRegards

38 posted on 11/30/2011 8:52:53 PM PST by gonzo ( Buy more ammo, dammit! You should already have the firearms ... FRegards)
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To: gonzo
Give me a Dick Tracy two-way wrist radio any day !!
39 posted on 11/30/2011 9:00:12 PM PST by Delta 21 (Make your choice ! There are NO civilians.)
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To: Zuben Elgenubi
So who is monitoring this flow of information and where in the h*ll are the memory banks?

No Such Agency ;)

Ft. Meade, MD and San Antonio, TX

40 posted on 12/01/2011 8:57:52 PM PST by anymouse (God didn't write this sitcom we call life, he's just the critic.)
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To: ShadowAce

Investor Alert: Short Carrier IQ. They be dead!


41 posted on 12/01/2011 8:59:09 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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