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Granting Photo Access In iPhone Might Allow Unauthorized Photographing

By November 13, 2017June 21st, 2022Technology News

An Austrian software engineer named Felix Krause has made a disturbing discovery about iPhones using iOS11. Once an app has been given permission to access the device’s camera, it can take pictures and videos without alerting the user and upload them to the internet in real time.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of apps that users grant camera permissions to. Basically, any time you upload an avatar or post a picture with an app, you’ve got to give it camera permissions to do that.

Krause documented his findings in a short video presentation. As long as an app with camera permissions was in the foreground, it could snap photos literally every second, all without the user being alerted to what was going on.

Krause was quick to point out that he wasn’t naming names, and so far, at least, there are no known instances of malicious apps abusing this flaw, nor are any legitimate apps misusing it to anyone’s knowledge. The simple fact that it is possible, though, opens the door to a whole host of malicious apps that could, and that’s disturbing.

For the moment, there are really only two ways to address the issue: either go in and modify all your apps’ permissions so that they no longer have camera access, or use lens covers to make it so that your front and back cameras can’t record anything unless you specifically want them to.

Longer term, there are a number of things Apple could do to address the issue. The two simplest fixes would be introducing expiring permissions for apps to allow for more precise user controls, or introducing LED lights that would activate any time the camera was in use, thus giving the user a clear visual marker.

In any case, for the moment, it’s important to know that your phone may be watching and/or recording you.

Chris Forte

Chris Forte, President and CEO of Olmec Systems, has been in the MSP workspace for the past 25 years. Chris earned his Master’s Degree from West Virginia University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He was a past member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a current member of the New Jersey Power Partners and Executive Association of New Jersey, where he has previously served on its board of directors. In his spare time, Chris enjoys traveling with his family. He also admits to being a struggling golfer and avid watcher of college football and basketball. He currently lives in Boonton Township, NJ with his wife, two daughters, son, and black lab Luna.