iPhone photo with geolocation

New documents by NSA leaker Edward Snowden were published this weekend by German newspaper Der Spiegel, giving us new insight into how the GCHQ tracked iPhone users without their consent.

Rather than tap specific exploits that GCHQ’s U.S. counterpart, NSA, relied on in order to compromise the iPhone’s software, GCHQ surveilled targets by following a device’s UDID across different services.

They were even able to pull data from the device itself when syncing with a compromised computer took place.

GCHQ, an acronym for The Government Communications Headquarters, is a British intelligence and security organization responsible for providing signals intelligence and information assurance to the British government and armed forces.

GCHQ wrote in its November 2010 report, posted here by Der Spiegel as a PDF document, that UDIDs allowed the organization to “follow the same device as it synced with a compromised machine, browsed the web (exposing it to the agency’s Safari exploit) or sent data to a broader tracking system like AdMob.”

Exposing the device’s UDID allowed GCHQ’s researchers to identify the person using it, the newspaper wrote.

UDID, or Unique Device Identifier, is a 40-character long identifier that developers used to implement to test their apps on permitted devices, by listing their UDIDs on the iTunes Connect portal.

Your device’s UDID is easily accessible in iTunes, when the device is connected, by clicking on the Serial Number field in the Info pane.

Because some developers and ad networks were misusing UDIDs, and responding to security concerns, Apple in the summer of 2012 started rolling out new tracking tools that permit developers to gather usage data on their apps without using UDIDs.

Source: Der Spiegel via The Verge

  • ♋JULY 17♋

    It’s always something new with the government in tracking

  • Wolfer

    For me nothing new…I am really tired of this types of news. We are being track since our parents inscribe us into a computer when our born certificate was made, and our ss was created. There is no really a private life, and never has been(except if u were born in the wild, and never was given a ss, or never had a driver liscence, etc). Good luck people beliving that u are having a “private life”. Why do u think when u are near your adult years you begin to recived letters of the armed forces, credit cards, scholarships, and other things? Whithout you ever never signed a document? Just in case english is not my first language. And I had worked and work for many agencies, offices, privates corporations and goverment ones. But I love the cyberworld, Im a geek in a way

    • Micaiah Martin

      there are some of us who live outside of the system and know what is going on.

      • Wolfer

        I know man!! And I can really asure I really know what it is going on!!! The real thing here is that at the end…we can be using many ip addresses and roads and servers outside our area to distract; but hey…in the system, in all the world, today the AI is so big, that they will make u think u are outside, they let u get away…but are u really out of the cyberworld? No because u are answering to me here in iDownloadblog(A GREAT PLACE THAT I LOVE) so u are using the system. You are in the system. Your parents put you in the system. In China, US, Europe, Africa, etc. your parents or yourself put you in the system because you are using it. The internet is part of the system. Every search webpage, like Msn(today is bing) put you in the system. Wikipedia? I think u understand man(or boy or youngster?) what I mean. You have a computer, you have landline phone, a cellphone? Then u are in the system. You had used one of the publics area? Then you are in the system.

    • SoylentGreen

      thats exactly the attitude that allowed this whole bs to be exacerbated, they are using this data to breach the magna carta, juris prudence, due dilligence, that spawned the american constitution

  • Xee

    What if you never sync your iPhone with a computer and have an adblocker for adverts? Or use a different browser?

  • mrgerbik

    It seems that people are being slowly acclimated to this type of treatment. Most likely until the day comes that most people won’t give a shit what people in ‘high’ and secret places will do to them

    • SoylentGreen

      its happening now mate, the infowar is in full effect.

  • Steven Honey

    New police radars can “see” inside homes.

    • SoylentGreen

      they have had listening devices touted as gunshot detectors inside lamp-posts etc for many years, with full acknowledgement that they can listen to human conversation. its on 😉