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iOS 12.2 Exploits, Vulnerabilities: Motion Sensor Tracking Issue Raises Smartphone Security Concerns

iPhone X.Macworld/YouTube

A recent vulnerability in iOS 12.2 was discovered by researchers at the University of Cambridge and has since been patched by Apple. However, considering the seriousness of the exploit, it raises serious concerns about the future of handheld mobile devices. The issue basically involved outside entities tracking specific smartphones using their device’s motion sensor features.

The iOS 12.2 problem was discovered to make use of the data via the Apple smartphones’ “accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer” features, Apple Insider reports. By doing so, a device can be marked with a unique fingerprint that can then allow outside entities to track it. This mark cannot be erased even after the unit has been restored to factory settings.

Once the issue was discovered, iOS 12.2 was immediately patched and devices can now be protected from such invasive tracking practices. The fact that there is no need to give permission before this activity can be initiated is what really made it a serious problem. Even with the vulnerability having finally been addressed, it doesn’t get rid of the underlying concern.

Simply put, if something as nondescript as motion sensors of a device can be used to then track that specific gadget, it brings up grave worries. Normally, hackers make use of careless online behavior such as clicking on bad links to actually tag a smartphone. This iOS 12.2 exploit showed that this is not necessarily the case and users should, therefore, be more worried about privacy breaches.

Even with Apple’s record for having devices that are safer to use than most, the iOS 12.2 was still exposed to such a huge threat. This paints a grim picture for the rest of the smartphone industry because it just opened a new can of worms. Simply put, if the motion sensor of a mobile device can be used to track that device, what other features can be taken advantage of for nefarious intent?

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