The half life of the CarrierIQ “rootkit” scandal proved to be a little more than a week. That’s about how long it took for Trevor Eckhart, a young, Connecticut-based Android developer to begin raising questions about some stealth software he discovered running on Android phones by HTC and speculation in the media and online to run rampant about what kinds of spying said software might be engaged in. It was time enough for CarrierIQ to issue a lawyer letter threatening to sue the Eckhart and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to come to his defense and even for Congress to get involved – each of which ensured even more news cycles would be taken up with the mini-controversy. And it was time, at long last, for more information to become available about what was really going on with CarrierIQs software, and for cooler heads to prevail on both sides. The question, now, is why incidents like this provoke our anger so – and what we can do to stop them from happening again.
Browsing Tag: Privacy
Many of the apps that come pre-installed on a variety of Android devices from manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung, Google and others have access to more services and capabilities on the devices than they should or that users are aware they have, according to new research. These “capability leaks” can sometimes be inherited from other apps, but the researchers say that they constitute significant security weaknesses on the Android devices.
The fallout from the controversy surrounding the presence of Carrier IQ’s software on millions of mobile devices on several different platforms has now reached Washington. Sen. Al Franken on Thursday sent a letter to the company, demanding answers to a series of questions about the software and its capabilities, and saying that the data that Carrier IQ collects “may violate federal privacy laws”.
A group of researchers is claiming that they’ve found a root exploit that enables them to jailbreak the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet made by Research In Motion. In a video demonstration of the jailbreak, one of the researchers shows off the ability to change the settings on a PlayBook and says that he also has the ability to install the Android Market app on the tablet.
Security researcher Trevor Eckhart discovered that many Android devices come pre-loaded with a piece of software made by Carrier IQ. In this video, he demonstrates how the software works and what it’s capable of monitoring. It’s since been revealed that versions of the app may have been on other devices, but likely don’t log users’ actions but provide analytical information for the carriers.
The security industry has no shortage of hard problems to solve, but the one that’s getting the most attention right now is finding a way to improve, or ideally, replace, the CA infrastructure. The latest in what has become a series of recent proposals to help shore up the certificate authority system comes from a pair of Google security researchers who have laid out a plan for providing auditable public logs of certificates as well as proofs for each certificate that’s issued.
Micro blogging site Twitter has acquired Whispersystems, a maker of mobile security software, according to a statement posted on the WhisperSystems Web site.
When CrowdOptic, a Silicon Valley, venture funded startup, developed a cool application that could stream real-time, context-aware information streams to mobile devices, the applications seemed straight-forward (and lucrative) enough: a blend of advertising and broadcasting that sports franchises and concert promoters might use to create an enhanced and “immersive experience” for fans attending live events. Along the way, however, the company discovered another, even more powerful use for their technology: crowd control.
The Tor Project has started a new system designed to help people start and run Tor bridges in the cloud using Amazon’s EC2 platform. The Tor Cloud runs on Amazon’s new micro-instance tier that lets people run instances for free for the first year.
When most people think of the Great Firewall of China, they think of government censors black holing the comments of political dissidents or conversations related to the long list of topics the governing Communist Party finds disruptive to political harmony. But in testimony before Congress, the head of a U.S.-based technology industry group said that the censorship is also taking an economic toll on Western Internet firms, as China steers Chinese consumers away from Western Web based services including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and Foursquare and toward domestic competitors.