Sci-tech

Apple gave Uber explicit permission to record iPhone screens, says researcher

Apple gave Uber explicit permission to record iPhone screens, says researcher

Apple iOS allowed Uber to run a powerful tool called - entitlement which is a snippet of code that can be used to perform various activities like setting up push notification, enable in-app payments, or interact with Apple's iCloud other than recording the entire screen of users even when the app is running in the background.

It's one of many "entitlements" that allow developers to tap into features of an iPhone or iPad that are normally off limits to most app developers, unless they have been granted special permission by Apple.

"It is very odd to see Uber as the only app (I checked tens of thousands of other apps using my company's internal dataset derived from the App Store) besides Apple's own apps granted access to this sensitive entitlement", said Strafach in an email to Business Insider. Though, the researchers suggest that this is to make the Uber app work more efficiently and smoothly with Apple Watch. It's possible Apple gave the company special permission because of the short 4-month time window which was granted to the company to launch its watchOS app back in 2015.

Uber has said the functionality had a benign goal and is no longer in use.

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Melanie Ensign, Uber spokesperson for security and privacy, told Strafach in a tweet that the entitlement is being removed from the app.

Another concern is that a hacker might be able to break into the network of Uber and take advantage of the capability to steal sensitive information from users, including passwords. "It's not connected to anything else in our current codebase and the diff [sic] to remove it is already being pushed into production", a spokesperson told ZDNet.

"Essentially it gives you full control over the framebuffer, which contains the colors of each pixel of your screen".

CRAPSI CAB company Uber has the power to secretly record iPhone users screens, according to new research. This could give an upper hand to the hackers, who can seep into the devices of the customer, if they succeed in hacking the Uber app. The firm added that it is working with Apple to remove the API completely.

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It's not the first time Uber has made headlines for alleged surveillance infringements.

It appears that back in 2015 Apple viewed Uber as a "trusted developer" that deserved the special permissions.

It's the latest in a long history of similar Uber-related privacy issues, including programs used to track drivers of competing service Lyft, and other secret programs aimed at discovering and frustrating efforts by law enforcement and undercover authorities.

Now, do we blame Apple for not taking the permission away?

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