Apple customers can sync a lot of the data on their devices to iCloud, but some information is being backed up in a way they might not be aware of and can’t control: their iPhone call logs.
Moscow-based digital forensics firm ElcomSoft reported yesterday that it discovered Apple was automatically uploading iPhone call logs into iCloud for users running iOS 8 and up on their devices. What’s more, users have “no official way” to turn off those backups, which include information about incoming, outgoing, missed and rejected calls, according to the company.
ElcomSoft said the discovery has implications for the privacy of iPhone users. Apple has publicly fought law enforcement efforts to unlock iPhones connected to investigations, noting that it does not have access to customer passcodes that would allow it to do so. However, user data stored in iCloud is easier for third parties — whether law enforcement or hackers — to access.
Only Fix ‘Greatly Affects’ Usability
In its announcement yesterday, ElcomSoft said that Apple could store iPhone call logs on its servers for months. The company added that the only way that users can disable the syncing feature is by disabling iCloud completely on their devices, which would greatly affect usability.
“Automatic cloud sync of call logs is great if you know about it and have an option to shut it off,” ElcomSoft CEO Vladimir Katalov said in a statement. “While Apple works hard to improve security of their physical devices, they move more and more data into the cloud where law enforcement can easily obtain it.”
In a blog post about the discovery yesterday, ElcomSoft’s Oleg Afonin added that iCloud data is “very loosely protected, allowing Apple itself or any third party with access to proper credentials extracting this information. Information stored in Apple iCloud is of…