Apple Addresses iOS 'Backdoor' Concerns by Outlining Legitimate Uses for Targeted Services [Updated]

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Earlier this week, forensic expert Jonathan Zdziarski attracted attention for his disclosures of what appeared to be "backdoors" in iOS that could allow for covert data collection of users' information from their devices. While Apple issued a statement denying that anything nefarious was involved, the company has now posted a new support document (via Cabel Sasser) offering a limited description of the three services highlighted in Zdziarski's talk.
    The three processes include:

    - com.apple.mobile.pcapd: Diagnostic packet capture to a trusted computer, used for diagnosing app issues and enterprise VPN connection problems.

    - com.apple.mobile.file_relay: Used on internal devices and can be accessed (with user permission) by AppleCare for diagnostic purposes on the user's device.

    - com.apple.mobile.house_arrest: Used by iTunes for document transfer and by Xcode during app development and testing.

    Security experts will undoubtedly have additional questions about just how these services work and whether there are better and more secure ways of accomplishing the tasks they handle. At the very least, however, today's disclosure demonstrates a willingness by Apple to share information about the legitimate need for these services and should help quell unsupported speculation that Apple has worked with security agencies to implement these tools to allow for covert surveillance.

    Update July 23, 9:52 AM: Zdziarski has responded [Google cache] to Apple's posting of the support document, acknowledging the disclosures but arguing that Apple is downplaying the power of these services.
    Zdziarski also emphasizes that he has never suggested Apple is involved in a conspiracy to open up these services for surveillance - only that they could be used by those seeking to access such data.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Apple Addresses iOS 'Backdoor' Concerns by Outlining Legitimate Uses for Targeted Services [Updated]
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    christarp

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    #2
    Really happy with how transparent apple is seeming to be. Hopefully they fully explain the situation and if something is going on they will admit it and fix it. This is the first step in the right direction.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    lolkthxbai

    Joined:
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    #3
    Seems legit. I'm happy with this response from apple. It's always nice to see people are curious about what services are running on their devices.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

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    United States
    #4
    I believe Apple.
     
  5. macrumors regular

    iSteve-O

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    Oct 2, 2011
    #5
    With all these security flaws, no wonder the President doesn't use an iPhone.
     
  6. MikhailT, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014

    macrumors 601

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    #6
    Great first steps, now one more step is to allow the user to opt out on all diagnostic information. One of the problems with _Don't send info to Apple_ is that while it is disabling the sharing of information to Apple, it does not prevent those services from recording the information in the first place. That means your iOS device is still hoarding all sorts of personal information without your knowledge and consent, even though you're not sharing it with Apple. The info can be retrieved illegally and/or with legit forensic tools.

    So, Apple needs to step up there and have a simple option to disable all diagnostic information, period. I don't care about legitimate users for these services, they're not required and they're storing information I don't want iOS to store in the first place that's not encrypted with my passcode.
     
  7. iCore24, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014

    macrumors 6502

    iCore24

    Joined:
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    Michigan
    #7
    Call me an Apple fanboy or whatever, But I 100% (more realistically around 92.8%) trust Apple.

    I know Steve Jobs cared 100% about this company. The man stopped working only when it was physically impossible for him to go to work. I heard he even was talking about the iPhone 5 a day before he died to Tim Cook.

    I know I know I shouldn't compare Steve to Tim. But I also believe Tim cares just as much as Steve did about Apple. They are honest and truly care about its products.

    Im lovin their transparency now!
    :apple:
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Zellio

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    #8
    In b4 that 1984 commercial with all the Apple users watching Tim Cook
     
  9. PocketSand11, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014

    macrumors 6502a

    PocketSand11

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    #9
    This doesn't sound legit. Even if these genuinely are not meant to be backdoors, these are still three security holes that they show no sign of fixing.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I don't think that means what you think it means.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    (Prez would need a case if he did since he would likely fumble and drop it like so many other things...)

    Prez doesn't need to worry about digital security when he has the whole NSA working for, and against, him...
     
  12. mbh
    macrumors 6502

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    #12
    I think Apple knows what kind of scrutiny they are under (fair or unfair, you have to admit it's extreme) and so are unlikely to lie about something like this. Can you imagine the headlines if one of these security researchers actually proved that something they said wasn't true? Right now all we have are accusations, which are a dime a dozen. Tim Cook burps at lunch and there are conspiracy theories on the internet within the hour.
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #13
    Never trust anything 100%. I don't even trust my wife 100% of the time. Hell, I don't trust myself 100% of the time. :D
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Any service with the name "house_arrest" raises some red flags.
     
  15. macrumors 68000

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    Jun 24, 2010
    #15
    How does this title sound?

    Google Addresses Android 'Backdoor' Concerns by Outlining Legitimate Uses for Targeted Services

    If you mood changes from positive to negative then you know your a Apple fanboy. ;)
     
  16. macrumors 68000

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    San Jose, CA
    #16
    I tend to believe Apple when they say they didn't install these services for nefarious purposes. But it doesn't change the fact that they expose way more information that is needed for the stated purposes, and that they are not well protected. The diagnostic services should be disabled by default until they are needed (e.g. there could be a switch in the Restrictions settings). I also see no justification for making them accessible via Wifi if they are indeed meant for legitimate diagnostics only.
     
  17. JAT
    macrumors 603

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    #17
    So, we are now to the point where discussions of iOS processes are PRSI??

    Somebody may be taking things a little too seriously.
     
  18. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
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    #18
    Ok great. Now when is google going to address the far more numerous security questions that researchers have posed regarding Android?

    ... Crickets???
     
  19. macrumors regular

    WissMAN

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    Lone Star state
    #19
    I tend to trust Apple or anyone for that matter until I have a reason not to. In this case I don't know enough about the found code to think it nefarious.

    With other comments made by apple I tend to think they know that partnering with the "other side" would be disastrous for their reputation and future.
     
  20. macrumors 68030

    Watabou

    Joined:
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    Location:
    United States
    #20
    If you make that above post, then you know you're a Google fanboy. ;)

    Now can we please stop making these types of posts? This is probably the new "Safari is snappier" type of posts. Take any front page post vilifying Apple, change the headline to Google and then mention how Apple fanboys will be pissed, will take a negative tone and then will promptly **** their pants.
     
  21. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #21
    Did you see the slides from the security researcher? It is not that technical, you can see what kind of general information is being stored on the local device storage.

    These information are not required for anything, it doesn't break anything by disabling them all from storing the info on the devices.

    Imagine this on your Mac, every site you visit in Safari is being stored in the diagnostic file because it could be diagnostically useful for Apple to grab that file and reproduce what you did before Safari crashed. Now, imagine if you intentionally clear your history in Safari but it is not removed from the diagnostic file at all because well, it's for a diagnostic purpose.

    Do you think it is okay to record what you did for diagnostic purposes even though you have never turned on the diagnostic mode nor consented to have it shared with Apple?
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    #22
    Steve caring 100% about his company =! Apple doesn't collect data on its users.
     
  23. macrumors 601

    gotluck

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    East Central Florida
    #23
    Haha I would agree.

    I like apples response fwiw
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    #24
    You must be kidding. Apple would never want to admit it, until it's shown and proven dot by dot. Only then...you will hear something close to admitting, maybe.
     
  25. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    #25
    Yeah, this does sound legit. I'm happy Apple responded quickly and pretty thoroughly.

    I'll be listening to Security Now tomorrow and reserve final judgement until after that, but this sounds very legit, thankfully!
     

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