A Russian security firm claims it has found that Apple iCloud has been storing user data even after it’s been deleted. Elcomsoft claims that some of those Apple iCloud browser records go back as far as a year. Apple iCloud is usually seen as a way to store your pictures, videos, and apps, many people are unaware that it does also store your browsing history (unless you turn it off). Elcomsoft says it was able to pull Safari data from iCloud including sites visited, dates, and times, even when the record had been deleted.
“In fact, we were able to access records dated more than one year back,” wrote Elcomsoft’s CEO Vladimir Katalov in a Thursday blog post.
Elcomsoft claims when users delete their browsing history, iCloud does not delete it completely, instead, it is stored in a format that is not visible to the user.
Keeping a copy of a user’s browser history can certainly be “invaluable for surveillance and investigations,” Katalov said. But it’s unclear if Apple knew that its iCloud service was storing the deleted records.
On Thursday, Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but since Elcomsoft’s blog post went live, Apple appears to be “purging” older browser history records from iCloud, the forensics firm said.
“For what we know, they could be just moving them to other servers, making deleted records inaccessible from the outside,” the blog post said. But now only deleted records as old as only two weeks can be extracted, the company said.
Without a response from Apple, we’re all left to wonder why this was happening. Was it intentional or some sort of bug? For now, the best way to keep your history from iCloud is to turn Safari off in your iCloud settings. This way nothing gets sent to iCloud and you won’t have to worry about your privacy being violated.
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Last Updated on February 10, 2017.