Search This Blog

Showing posts with label Iphone Spying. Show all posts

Apple is Tracking Your Every Move, Here's All You Need to Know

 

Tech giant Apple projects itself as a privacy-focused firm, but according to the latest research, the company might be contradicting its own practices when it comes to collecting App Store data. 

According to a Twitter thread published by an iOS developer and security researcher Tommy Mysk, Apple tracks customers' activity via 'Directory Services Identifier' or DSLD which is linked to the customer’s iCloud and is able to collect private data like name, email address, and contacts. 

What’s more worrying is that the revelations reported in the thread state that even if customers switch off device analytics in the ‘Settings menu, the company deploys this dsId to other apps too. 

“Apple’s analytics data include an ID called “dsId”. We were able to verify that “dsId” is the “Directory Services Identifier”, an ID that uniquely identifies an iCloud account. Meaning, Apple’s analytics can personally identify you,” Mysk tweeted. 

However, the tech giant’s Device Analytics & Privacy document says that none of the user information collected is linked to that individual, suggesting that as a user, you would appear anonymous.

“None of the collected information identifies you personally. Personal data is either not logged at all, is subject to privacy preserving techniques such as differential privacy, or is removed from any reports before they’re sent to Apple. You can review this information on your iOS device by going to Settings > Privacy & Security > Analytics & Improvements and tapping Analytics Data,” the document reads.

Even though Apple continues to prattle that it is a privacy-oriented firm that values customers’ privacy and focuses to give them more control over what data they want to share or not share with advertisers and app designers, it can still employ DSLD for its own personal benefits, whatever those may be. 

Earlier this month, Gizmodo reported that a lawsuit was filed against Apple, with the plaintiff stating that Apple illegally siphons user data even when the firm's own privacy settings promise not to. The lawsuit was filed based on Mysk’s research; however, the researcher was unable to analyze the data in iOS 16 due to its encryption.

Citizen Lab Exposes Cytrox as Vendor Behind 'Predator' iPhone Spyware

 

The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab has found yet another player in the private sector mobile spyware market, citing a small North Macedonian firm called Cytrox as the maker of high-end iPhone implants. 

Citizen Lab worked with Facebook parent company Meta's threat-intelligence team to expose Cytrox and a handful of other PSOAs (private sector offensive actors) in the murky surveillance-for-hire industry. Citizen Lab stated that Cytrox is behind a piece of iPhone spying malware that was put on the phones of two prominent Egyptians, according to a detailed technical analysis published. 

Predator, the malware, was able to infect the most recent iOS version (14.6) utilising single URLs provided via WhatsApp. Exiled Egyptian politician Ayman Nour was spooked by his iPhone overheating, and later discovered evidence of two different spyware applications running on the device, administered by two different government APT actors. 

The Egyptian government, a known Cytrox customer, has been attributed with the attack, according to Citizen Lab. Nour's phone was infected with both Cytrox's Predator and Israeli vendor NSO Group's more well-known Pegasus spyware, according to Citizen Lab. Citizen Lab's exposé detailed Cytrox's background as a startup launched in 2017 by Ivo Malinkovksi, a North Macedonian who later integrated the company with Intellexa and publicly hawked digital forensics tools. The firm claims to be established in the European Union, with R&D labs and sites all over Europe. 

In a separate advisory published by Meta’s security team, Cytrox is listed alongside Cobwebs Technologies, Cognate, Black Cupe, Bluehawk CI, BellTroX and two unknown Chinese entities among a growing roster of private companies in the surveillance-for-hire business. 

These firms handle the reconnaissance, engagement, and exploitation phases of advanced malware campaigns for governments and law enforcement agencies all across the world, including those that target journalists, politicians, and other members of civil society. 

Cytrox was recognised as a company that "develops exploits and sells surveillance tools and viruses that enable its clients to compromise iOS and Android devices," as per Facebook's team. 

Facebook’s security team stated, “[We were] able to find a vast domain infrastructure that we believe Cytrox used to spoof legitimate news entities in the countries of their interest and mimic legitimate URL-shortening and social media service.” 

“They used these domains as part of their phishing and compromise campaigns. Cytrox and its customers took steps to tailor their attacks for particular targets by only infecting people with malware when they passed certain technical checks, including IP address and device type. If the checks failed, people could be redirected to legitimate news or other websites.” 

“Targets of Cytrox and its customers included politicians and journalists around the world, including in Egypt and Armenia.”