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Apple Store / Apple news / Tracking in iOS apps: why it happens and how to protect yourself
02 April 2021

Tracking in iOS apps: why it happens and how to protect yourself

Experts with safety research results. How to protect yourself from being tracked by third-party apps on your iPhone

Катерина Антонюк

A study was conducted by experts with security in the pCloud network, during which an analysis of privacy data was carried out. It became clear which applications can transfer user information to third-party services.

50 popular applications were tested at once. And the leading place in all indicators was taken by the social network Facebook. Not the best performance with regards to other popular programs. But, there are also those applications that have proven their reliability.

There is a myth that iOS provides complete information security, but this is not entirely true. Apple pays great attention to protecting your smartphone from malware. Therefore, do not miss them in the App Store. But, even despite this, the easiest way to get the user's personal data is - social engineering. It works especially well on iPhones if the user neglects simple rules.

Security on the iPhone

A common reason for theft is the user's inattention. But, there is another threat of identity theft, namely from the government, intelligence agencies and hackers. So, for example, the latter can sell information due to which special services can receive data from the user's smartphone. And even if it sounds unrealistic enough, in fact, this is how it happens even on iOS.

Apple Smartphone Security Level

It all started six years ago, when the FBI asked the Apple company to help unlock the iPhone 5c of one of the criminals who killed 14 people. But, Apple refused to do this, as it was reported that they did not have special keys to unlock the device.

After that, the developers were asked to create a firmware with a special backdoor, which will be installed on top of the existing one and thus will be able to unlock the smartphone. But, in this case, the FBI was refused. The company explained that such actions will have a bad effect on the devices of other users.

At a certain point, the dispute between the company and FBI reached a dead end, but a third-party company appeared, which promised to unlock the device for a tidy sum. According to rumors, such an offer came from the Israeli company Cellebrite, and it cost the government a million dollars to unlock the smartphone.

Since then, other states in the United States have taken advantage of this service. And with all this, other companies have begun to offer unblocking services as well.

The essence of receiving data is as follows: the phone is connected to a special device, it works on the selection of passwords and can endlessly select a combination.

The level of security of Apple products

But, Apple decided to protect its users and with the release of iOS 13, it will no longer be possible to unlock the device by selecting the desired password combination. It is likely that Cellebrite has found a new and effective solution to this situation.

As it turned out, there are other methods of hacking the phone, which, apparently, Apple did not take into account. So, it's much easier to access your iCloud backup. And this moment is quite interesting.

It became known that developers are not yet able to do individual encryption of cloud backups. They are, of course, encrypted, but if you wish, you can find a method with which you can decrypt them. And such a method was found in the FBI. It is known that in 2019 alone, more than 6 thousand accounts were viewed without the knowledge of users.

In addition, the government put pressure on Apple and demanded to change the encryption. In 2020, it is known that Cupertino surrendered and announced that they were abandoning their plans. Based on this, we can conclude that:

  • FBI can access the iCloud backup at any time and it is likely that authorities from other countries already have such capabilities;
  • Devices that are not updated to iOS 13 can be unlocked. This is done with the help of special devices that have been in the FBI for a long time.

But it is not all that bad. There are methods to help protect your data from hacking.

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