The Carrier IQ Scandal: What You Can Do About It
If you have a smartphone, particularly an Android or iPhone, then you might need to check it for the Carrier IQ software. This software has opened up a new scandal as security researcher Trevor Eckhart documented in this video how the software tracks the buttons you push, the text messages you send, and even the websites you browse. Eckhart shows that Carrier IQ can see what you’re doing on these websites, even if you try to utilize https, which is supposed to mean that all information transmitted on the website is encrypted.
Although Eckhart’s video only shows how the software works on an HTC phone, those phones are the only ones that carry the software. The iPhone has been found to have Carrier IQ, and other devices have tested negative, yet the verdict on them isn’t definitive yet. This scandal may have broke out a few days ago, but it’s still unfolding as people try to find out which phones carry the software, and as Samsung, HTC, and Carrier IQ are sued over the tracking. Although no carriers have been sued over this privacy invasion, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all confessed to having the Carrier IQ software on its devices. Keep in mind that this scandal only seems to affect smartphones and tablets. Those with less sophisticated phones may be safe from the Carrier IQ tracking.
There is a way to get around all this on your smartphone because Carrier IQ actually depends on where a smartphone user logs in. If the user logs in on Carrier IQ’s servers, this means that the users’ data is transmitted over a cellular network from the phone to the serve. If Carrier IQ’s server address, or domain name system, is known, then the user can easily cut off all communication between the smartphone and Carrier IQ. Since VPN, or virtual private network, providers like vpn4all.com have the technology to disconnect from Carrier IQ’s services (primarily by providing our own servers with our own protection), this could be used against the Carrier IQ software and block it. How does this work? VPN4all, for example, has the technology to treat Carrier IQ as a hacker trying to commit a phishing attack. This means Carrier IQ can be blocked from the entire network, especially on the mobile phone. A mobile phone VPN, such as the one offered by vpn4all.com, would work best in preventing Carrier IQ from seeing everything you do on your smartphone. It’s like an anti-fishing block, but the other way around.Continued on the next page