Motorola is collecting email addresses, usernames, passwords, GPS coordinates from pictures taken, and more from at least on of its smartphone models, according to an analysis by
engineering expert Ben Lincoln.What’s worse, much of this information isn’t being being encrypted. This means that it’s relatively easy for someone looking to collect private data going over a network (like at an unprotected public wireless hotspot).
Using Motorola’s Droid X2 smartphone, Lincoln monitored the traffic between his phone and Motorola’s servers using different applications and services.
While he hasn’t run the tests on other Motorola devices, he has explained on his site how to perform the tests and will publish results from his readers as they send them in.
The biggest risk to what Motorola is doing is that sending such data using such unprotected methods makes their devices easy to compromise, meaning a hacker could take over a Motorola phone and the user wouldn’t even notice.
Here are some of the striking results Lincoln found:
Facebook and Twitter
Motorola is collecting Facebook and Twitter usernames and passwords, but is doing so in a way that is mostly protected. Your contacts, messages (both the ones you look at and write), and images you look at aren’t protected though. So a hacker with a public hotspot could easily collect that info as you use those services without you noticing anything.
Photo uploads to Facebook and similar services
On most smartphones, when you take a picture it tags that photo with your current GPS coordinates. Since Motorola collects your photos with this data, your whereabouts could easily be reverse-engineered by looking at the photos you’ve taken over time.
Considering Google owns Motorola, the fact that the way Motorola is routing data to and from its devices looks suspicious to Google is raises a big red flag that what they’re doing isn’t quite right.
We tried to reach out to Motorola for a comment, but the company hasn’t responded with an official statement. We’ll update if we hear back.
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