In a Shocker of a revelation, the smartphone world was shunned by the reports that Android, Blackberry OS, Symbian and even WebOS has a tool to track every action that the user of the phone does.
We have previously written an article about Traitorware, this is an example of it.
Carrier IQ, a diagnostic tool installed in millions of smartphones all over the world, is gathering a lot of information about your activity – possibly even recording keystrokes, content of SMS messages and more – and sending it to a third party.
Career IQ is a private organization which collects such user data for quality and performance monitoring purposes. Though it is done for any technical reasons and measurements, it is about the user privacy, where millions of android mobile users are kept under radar.
Earlier this month, Trevor Eckhart, 25 year old Android Developer discovered a piece of app installed on Android, Blackberry and Nokia mobile phones. Trevor referred to it as a “rootkit”, a piece of software that hides itself while utilizing privileged access like watching your every move.
In the video, Eckhart navigates to a list of running applications on his phone, and he found that the application IQRD–made by Carrier IQ–was not shown. However, when he searched all of the applications on the device, Eckhart discovered that IQRD showed up with the option to force stop it; therefore, he determined that the app must have been running. However, when he tried to stop the application, the force stop function did absolutely nothing. Additionally, this application always runs when the device is started, according to his research. After connecting his HTC device to his computer, Trevor found that IQRD is secretly logging every single button that he taps on the phone–even on the touchscreen number pad. IQRD is also shown to be logging text messages. In the video, Eckhart shows that Carrier IQ is also logging Web searches. While this doesn’t sound all that bad by itself, it suggests that Carrier IQ is logging what happens during an HTTPS connection which is supposed to be encrypted information. Additionally, it can do this over a Wi-Fi connection with no 3G, so even if your phone service is disconnected, IQRD still logs the information. – PCWorld
The only way it can be removed is by Rooting your phone and changing the Operating System.
It is a real wire-tapping issue and compromising privacy of the users, which might cost these companies a lot
See the video in Action which Trevor Eckhart posted
The Verge claims that neither the Nexus-branded Android phones nor the Motorola Xoom tablet include Carrier IQ
iOS jailbreak developer Grant Paul (AKA chpwn) points out on Twitter that earlier versions of iOS appear to have included Carrier IQ, check out his post here