The nefarious software named Carrier IQ that has been found on a number of Android, Nokia, and BlackBerry phones that tracks almost everything a user does appears to not be exclusive to those platforms. References to the software have now been found in Apple’s iOS, although it may not be quite as evil on the iPhone.
On Wednesday the news broke that a collection of Android, Nokia, and BlackBerry phones had Carrier IQ software embedded in them, which tracks almost everything a user does from the numbers that are dialed to the contents of emails and SMS messages. Late on Wednesday night, an iOS hacker named chpwn tweeted that he had found references to the same software in iOS 3.
After spending some additional time poking around it was confirmed that the Carrier IQ software references existed in every version of iOS since iOS 3, including iOS 5. The software fell under the name /usr/bin/awd_ice2.
There is a bit of good news here for iPhone owners. It seems that the Carrier IQ software is far less functional on the iPhone than it has been demonstrated to be on other platforms. Chpwn wrote on his blog:
“…it does not appear the daemon has any access or communication with the UI layer, where text entry is done.”
If that ends up being true, it means iOS isn’t logging passwords, numbers dialed, SMS messages, or anything else at the UI layer. In addition, it seems that Carrier IQ only runs when the iPhone is in Diagnostic Mode which, luckily, is off by default.
When the Carrier IQ software is activated on an iPhone, it seems to log name, phone number, carrier information, some information about calls you make, and location (if you use your phone with Location Services enabled).
It seems like the best thing to do if you own an iPhone is to make sure you are not operating in Diagnostic Mode and all should be fine. If you own an Android, Nokia, or BlackBerry however, it’s likely that the software is running and logging everything you do. If you want to check if the service is running on your Android phone there is a tool to do it which you can find here courtesy of Trevor Eckhart.