Security researchers recently revealed that Uber’s iPhone app has a code that might have given the ride-hailing company access to the users’ iPhone screens as well as the ability to record the screen information.
The recently revealed information about the code in the Uber app for iOS has led to a lot of concerns especially considering that Uber is currently under investigations about questionable business practices. However, it not clear whether the ride-hailing company took advantage of the back door access to collect customer data on their iPhones.
“Granting such a sensitive entitlement to a third-party is unprecedented as far as I can tell, no other app developers have been able to convince Apple to grant them entitlements they’ve needed to let their apps utilize certain privileged system functionality,” stated security analyst Will Strafach during a talk with Business Insider.
Uber revealed to Business Insider that it did not use the code and that it was a part of the earlier version of its Apple Watch app. However, the reveal about the code has aroused a lot of concerns among security researchers as well as concerns from iPhone users who have the Uber app installed on their phones.
Uber has announced that it plans to remove the code from its ride-hailing app. The company’s spokesperson stated that Apple provided the code to enhance the functionality between the iPhone app and the Apple Watch app. Apple has not commented on the matter but a source revealed that the ride-hailing company was experiencing some memory management problems with the initial versions of the Apple Watch. The source claims that this was the reason why Apple provided the code.
The entitlement facilitated the integration of the apps when the Apple Watch was initially launched in 2015. Strafach revealed that the developers had to work under strict deadlines when the Apple Watch made its debut so that they could get the app to work the way it was intended to. Apple is usually very particular about the kind of access it gives to developers who seek special access to entitlements. This is because such access can be used for good or evil purposes and it especially tries to avoid the latter.