Off Topic

You down with UDID? Yeah, you know me… my location and app activities

It was announced this week by the hacker group AntiSec that they compromised a laptop belonging to Supervisor Special Agent Christopher K. Stangl from the FBI taking advantage of vulnerability in Java that allowed them to gain access files on his system. The data they claim to have downloaded allegedly holds more than 12 million UDIDs ( Uniqe Device Identifiers) from Apple iOS devices.

Although there is cause for concern, there is no reason to panic… yet. The UDID is a unique number that identifies a given iOS device, a bit like a serial number. Simply having this number alone would not be an issue, as they are fairly anonymous.

Apple UDID iOS AntiSec hack

However the file in question also maps UDIDs to names, phone numbers, zip codes, addresses in some cases. The UDIDs then are no longer anonymous but linked to their respective owners.

The UDID number has been used/misused by developers over the last few years to identify devices for advertisements, analytics and other purposes. The Internet is chock full of databases that map UDIDs to usernames, activities, location data, game scores, ad clicks as well as Facebook and other social media profiles. Even if you deleted an application from your phone the data can still persist in the Cloud.

So as we see more data breached, sold and shared, data will be mapped to previously anonymous data related to activities, location and app usage. So the damage of the breach consists of the possibility that connections that may not have existed before will be bridged and more robust profiles of targets available.

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Ken Westin

Ken Westin

Your Pundit of Paranoia