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      11-30-2011, 10:28 PM   #1
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Android handsets secretly logging keystrokes, SMS messages?




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Your Android-based smartphone could be watching just about everything you do, Android security researcher Trevor Eckhart argues in a video posted earlier this week.
In the nearly 20-minute video clip, Eckhart shows how software developed by mobile-device tracker Carrier IQ logs each keystroke and then sends them off to locations unknown. In addition, when Eckhart tried placing a call, Carrier IQ's software recorded each number before the call was even made.
Eckhart started making waves across the privacy community earlier this month after he dug into software developed by Carrier IQ that, he said, runs behind the scenes in Android-based devices to track what users are doing. Eckhart called the software a "rootkit," due to its ability to access device data while concealing its presence.
As one might expect, Carrier IQ took offense to Eckhart's claim, saying that its software is a "diagnostic tool" for companies to "improve the quality of the network, understand device issues, and ultimately improve the user experience." The company also sent Eckhart a cease-and-desist letter and demanded he issue an apology for calling its software a rootkit.
Related Links
Android researcher: Carrier IQ 'diagnostic' tool really a rootkit spy
Carrier IQ apologizes, drops threat to security researcher
CNET's roundup of the best Android phones
Just days later, Carrier IQ did an about face after the Electronic Frontier Foundation responded to its cease-and-desist letter, saying that Eckhart's comments and research are protected under the Copyright Act's fair use provision.
"Our action was misguided and we are deeply sorry for any concern or trouble that our letter may have caused Mr. Eckhart," the company said in response to the EFF's letter. "We sincerely appreciate and respect EFF's work on his behalf, and share their commitment to protecting free speech in a rapidly changing technological world."
However, Carrier IQ also took the opportunity to clarify what its software doesn't do, including record keystrokes, provide tracking tools, or inspect "the content of e-mails and SMSs." The company also argued that its software does not "provide real-time data reporting to any customer."
But Eckhart's new video seems to refute at least some of those claims. In one part of the clip, he shows how an entire SMS message--"hello world"--was recorded by Carrier IQ's software. In another example, he demonstrates how a Google search, his location, and other key information is recorded by Carrier IQ's application, even though he was on Wi-Fi and a page secured by HTTPS.
"The Carrier IQ application is receiving not only HTTP strings directly from browser, but also HTTPs strings," Eckhart wrote in a blog post. "HTTPs data is the only thing protecting much of the 'secure' Internet. Queries of what you search, HTTPs plain text login strings (yuck, but yes), even exact details of objects on page are shown in the JS/CSS/GIF files above--and can be seen going into the Carrier IQ application."
"The Carrier IQ application is embedded so deeply in the device that it can't be fully removed without rebuilding the phone from source code."
--Trevor Eckhart, Android security researcher
Perhaps most troublesome is that users don't know where their information is going or how it's being used. Earlier this month, Sprint told CNET that it's a Carrier IQ customer, but rejected any notion that it's peering into users' personal data.
"Carrier IQ provides information that allows Sprint, and other carriers that use it, to analyze our network performance and identify where we should be improving service," Sprint told CNET. "We also use the data to understand device performance so we can figure out when issues are occurring."
"We collect enough information to understand the customer experience with devices on our network and how to address any connection problems, but we do not and cannot look at the contents of messages, photos, videos, etc., using this tool," Sprint continued.
But for many handset owners, that might not be enough. So, surely they can turn off the software and stop the tracking, right? Think again, says Eckhart.
"The Carrier IQ application is embedded so deeply in the device that it can't be fully removed without rebuilding the phone from source code," he says. "This is only possible for a user with advanced skills and a fully unlocked device. Even where a device is out of contract, there is no off switch to stop the application from gathering data."
Although Eckhart's data comes from Android devices, it's worth noting that Carrier IQ's software is running on over 130 million mobile devices worldwide, including those made by Nokia and Research In Motion.
Carrier IQ declined CNET's request for comment.
Android handsets secretly logging keystrokes, SMS messages? | The Digital Home - CNET News
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      11-30-2011, 11:01 PM   #2
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yay now android fanboys can't be making fun of my iPhone and being OMG UR BEING TRACKED!!! APPLE SUXXX.
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      11-30-2011, 11:07 PM   #3
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      11-30-2011, 11:25 PM   #4
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pretty sure I saw blackberries being used in some of the screenplay on some major network...not that that means anything


Someone read up on this, I actually thought about you guys and knew someone would have a thread up on this. I want to know more. Kinda freaks me out
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      12-01-2011, 12:27 AM   #5
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blackberry
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/Displaya..._December1.xml

Blackberry included
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      12-01-2011, 12:43 AM   #6
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The Rootkit Of All Evil – CIQ

http://www.xda-developers.com/androi...-all-evil-ciq/
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      12-01-2011, 12:55 AM   #7
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I bet that Carrier IQ is linked to Google dashboard in one way or another.
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      12-01-2011, 01:29 AM   #8
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Is that only on Sprint phones? Because on my AT&T Galaxy S2, I don't see that application running at all.
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      12-01-2011, 01:29 AM   #9
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From that link I found this..

http://www.xda-developers.com/androi...iq-sues-treve/
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      12-01-2011, 01:50 AM   #10
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I'm still trying to find it on my SGS II. I'm also trying to find the removal kit.
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      12-01-2011, 04:05 AM   #11
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http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/1/26...do-not-include
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      12-01-2011, 04:15 AM   #12
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How is the battery life on your S2s? I bought mine the other day and it seems to die extremely fast if I don't use Advanced Task Killer frequently. I played a game on the plane the other day for about 45 minutes close to a full charge, and about an hour or so after that I had to shut my phone off because I kept getting critical battery messages...
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      12-01-2011, 08:13 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by RnmEvo9 View Post
Is that only on Sprint phones? Because on my AT&T Galaxy S2, I don't see that application running at all.
That is the whole point, it runs secretly in background, you have to specifically look for it.

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How to Tell If It's Running On Your Phone

Right now, Android users are the only ones able to detect and remove the program (score one for openness). However, depending on your phone, you may have to be rooted to do so. Once rooted, running the "CIQ Checks" task in this app on XDA will tell you whether it's running on your system. On HTC phones, you can also search for the app in Settings > Applications as described in the video above, but using the Logging Checker app is the most reliable way to check.

Note also that if you're running an Android Open Source Project (AOSP) based ROM—like CyanogenMod—you do not have Carrier IQ installed on your system. These apps are based on the original, open source version of Android, and don't include any carrier or manufacturer additions like Carrier IQ. If you're using a modded version of your manufacturer's ROM, however—for example, a modded HTC Sense or Samsung TouchWiz ROM—you could still have it installed. To avoid this, either flash AOSP based ROMs, or flash ROMs with Carrier IQ specifically removed (many will say NOCIQ or something similar on their description pages).
http://lifehacker.com/5863895/carrie...w-to-remove-it
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      12-01-2011, 08:16 AM   #14
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How is the battery life on your S2s? I bought mine the other day and it seems to die extremely fast if I don't use Advanced Task Killer frequently. I played a game on the plane the other day for about 45 minutes close to a full charge, and about an hour or so after that I had to shut my phone off because I kept getting critical battery messages...
It's ok, depends on if I'm gaming and on screen brightness setting.
I think it will get better after I root it.
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      12-01-2011, 01:01 PM   #15
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What's retarded is the fact that it's baked into the OS so you have to be pretty good with code to be able to remove it.
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      12-01-2011, 01:30 PM   #16
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We want this crap removed!

http://www.xda-developers.com/androi...alk-about-ciq/
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      12-01-2011, 01:36 PM   #17
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Amen to that. This ish needs to be removed.
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      12-01-2011, 01:42 PM   #18
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Good old Apple..

Settings -> General -> About -> Diagnostics & Usage -> Don't Send
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      12-01-2011, 01:44 PM   #19
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Good old Apple..

Settings -> General -> About -> Diagnostics & Usage -> Don't Send
You don't have that for Android devices.
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      12-01-2011, 01:45 PM   #20
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The problem is... you always run the risk of bricking your phone when rooting it and then you are sol.
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      12-01-2011, 08:47 PM   #21
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If you have a Verizon phone, you are safe from CIQ.
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      12-01-2011, 08:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
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I bet that Carrier IQ is linked to Google dashboard in one way or another.
I bet the NSA owns CIQ.

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