Apple has a hidden feature for you in its iPhones: call logs going back as far as four months are stored in near real-time in the iCloud. That’s the warning today from a Russian provider of iPhone hacking tools, Elcomsoft, which claimed the feature was automatic and there was no way to turn it off bar shutting down iCloud Drive altogether.
Whilst it was well-known that iCloud backups would store call logs, contacts and plenty of other valuable data, users should be concerned to learn that their communications records are consistently being sent to Apple servers without explicit permission, said Elcomsoft CEO Vladimir Katalov. Even if those backups are disabled, he added, the call logs continue making their way to the iCloud, Katalov said.
“Syncing call logs happens almost in real time, though sometimes only in a few hours,” he added. “But all you need to have is just iCloud Drive enabled, and there is no way to turn that syncing off, apart from just disabling iCloud Drive completely. In that case many applications will stop working or lose iCloud-related features completely.”
All FaceTime calls are logged in the iCloud too, whilst as of iOS 10 incoming missed calls from apps like WhatsApp and Skype are uploaded, said Elcomsoft, which provides phone forensics tools to police. Its tools were also linked to the iCloud leaks of celebrity nude pictures, as anyone can purchase Elcomsoft kit. Last month, it revealed Apple had failed to properly secure its iTunes backups, making it much easier for its tools (and cybercriminals) to access users’ information. Apple subsequently updated iOS 10 to improve backup security.
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