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iPhone iSpy? Hacker says device captures it all

Forensics expert says iPhone caches screenshots of everything users do. Presumably the screenshots are deleted but, he says, they can be retrieved.

The iPhone is recording everything users see and do on their devices for caching purposes, an iPhone hacker says.

The device records screenshots of a user's most recent action so that it can achieve that cool effect of applications fading away when the home button is clicked, according to Jonathan Zdziarski, who wrote the forthcoming book iPhone Forensics: Recovering Evidence, Personal Data, and Corporate Assets.

The screenshots are presumably deleted after the application is closed, but they can be recovered with forensics techniques just like data deleted from most any storage device can be reconstructed for purposes of law enforcement, he said in a Webcast on Thursday in which he demonstrated how to break into password-protected iPhones.

"There's no way to prevent it," Zdziarski said of the screenshot caching, according to a Wired report. "I'm kind of divided on it. I hope Apple fixes it because it's a significant privacy leak, but at the same time it's been useful for investigating criminals."

Meantime, breaking into a passcode-locked phone took him nearly an hour to demonstrate and required creating a custom firmware bundle, the report said. The issue is different from a security hole discovered last month that allowed people to get access to e-mail, text, and voice messages on password-protected phones.

Apple representatives did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment for this story.