Do you think someone is watching you? Do you worry that your phone has been hacked, and is now sending telltale messages and information back to an anonymous source? If so, it’s apparently too bad. Apple has removed an app called System and Security Info, which was designed to tell you if your phone had been hacked, from the app store.
Apple has a history of being inconsistent when it comes to what can and cannot be available through the app store. According to tweets from the app’s creator, Stefan Esser, Apple went through three revisions of the app before finally deciding to kill the app on the fourth review. Esser believes Apple was waiting for the media hype to die down before pulling the app from the app store.
“The only reason our app is pulled and not the others that show system info/jailbreak status is because we put a dent in ‘unbreakable iOS,'” tweeted Esser.
According to Apple the app was pulled for providing “potentially inaccurate and misleading diagnostic functionality.”
Here. It basically says: we do not want our users to have the impression iOS could have security holes. go away. pic.twitter.com/7II1q96ZMt
— Stefan Esser (@i0n1c) May 14, 2016
Once installed on your iPhone, the app had to dig around deep inside to see if it could find evidence of a jailbreak, malware, or what it describes as ‘security anomalies.’ All the information it gathered was presented in a list, giving you an accurate picture of whether your phone was surreptitiously being used to spy on you.
Although jailbreaking an iPhone is usually purposely performed by the owner to give more access to the iPhone’s system than Apple allows, it could also be performed without your knowledge if a hacker had control of your phone for a short while. Done properly, it’s potentially very difficult to know it has happened, but it’s an essential part of any mission to spy on your smartphone activities. Why? Because spyware, and other nasty apps, have to be installed without going through the iTunes App Store, and that requires deeper control.
Before you start really worrying, it’s highly unlikely that your personal iPhone has been a jailbreak victim without you knowing. However, if the iPhone is one given to you by your work, or if it was purchased used, or even if it was lost and recovered, you may feel better checking to see if anything unpleasant had been installed while it was out of your possession. It’s then that the System and Security Info app would have come in handy. Other features include a list of running processes, memory and CPU usage, and an overview of memory use.
Updated on 05-16-2016 by Christian de Looper: Updated article to reflect that the app has been removed from the App Store.