Friday, 27 January 2012

What information does your SmartPhone give out?

O2 have recently admitted that their system has been giving out the mobile phone number of users accessing the internet from their smartphones.

If you have accessed a website from your O2 smartphone the website owner would be able to see quite a lot of information about your phone, including the phone number, make, model, software version, etc.

O2 say that this was only the case between 14 Jan and 25th Jan, due to a poorly configured maintenance update. (They haven't stated which year this started, although we assume they mean 2012.) They have now fixed this vulnerability.
However, they do admit that they have always shared such information with "Trusted Partners", and this is on-going. They haven't said who those Trusted Partners are, which has caused a lot of Twitter activity from outraged O2 customers.

It is extremely unlikely that this is limited to O2. It is probable that your own phone provider does the same thing. You may wish to check with them, without holding your breath for any serious feedback.

You can also check for yourself if your information is being given out freely, by using your smartphone to browse to www.mulliner.org/pc.cgi. You must do this through the mobile phone network, so turn off the wireless capability of the phone first. If the page you see is red you may have an issue, if it is green then you should be OK.
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© Michael Donkin 2012