Some Popular iPhone Apps Are Secretly Recording Your Screen


Apple has since put developers on notice that they need to tell users if and when they're recording a user while they're using an app. The service provides a "session replay" technology that effectively screenshots the screen to capture every tap and keyboard entry. These apps are not even masking the information such as passport number, credit card, and other sensitive data.

Popular iOS apps such as Air Canada and Expedia were found to be recording user actions via Glassbox analytics.

Glassbox says that it provides technology, among many other reasons, to help reduce the error rates of apps. But none of the apps they examined made it clear that they were recording a user's screen or that they were relaying those recordings to each company or to Glassbox's cloud.

Apple told TechCrunch in an email that protecting user privacy was "paramount" in the Apple ecosystem.

After the issue was flagged by a researcher known as the App Analyst, the folks over at TechCrunch conducted an investigation that confirmed there are iPhone apps that are using an analytics company called Glassbox, which alongside collecting granular data on how the apps are used also record screen activity without the consent of users.

If developers do not update their apps to align with Apple's requirements, the company could temporarily ban them from the App Store. Despite Apple terminating the internal app certifications of those tech giants, it is still believed that few other significant apps track users data in a radically different approach.

Apple has warned app developers they must remove or disclose the presence of software that enables them to record the screen of iPhone users or face "immediate action".

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TechCrunch found these apps via Glassbox's customer database.

It's unclear, however, if Google will follow in the footsteps of Apple and ban any apps that use it. If customers see that the app is recording their activities, they might get cautious or exit the app.

'Glassbox has a unique capability to reconstruct the mobile application view in a visual format, which is another view of analytics, Glassbox SDK can interact with our customers native app only and technically cannot break the boundary of the app, ' the spokesperson said.

The companies say the tool was created to help them improve their apps by identifying problem areas that users encounter. The main issue with the usage of this software is that the travel companies and the hotels don't inform the users about the use of this technology.

The company behind the technology is called Glassbox.

In this process, The App Analyst noted that some apps expose sensitive user information, which can be easily hacked at an event of a cyber-attack.

"The protection of customer data and privacy is of the utmost priority to us".