The software sends Apple a report of the activity of the equipment, said Jeffrey Paul. The data would not be encrypted, so Internet providers would be able to see them.
Apple’s new operating system, macOS 11 Big Sur, might be compromising the privacy of users. It records and transmits anything they run on the computers where they install it, according to computer security researcher and hacker Jeffrey Paul.
In recent days, the analyst said in an article entitled “Your computer is not yours” that the software sends Apple a unique hash in which they review all the programs that users have run. Paul stressed that users would not be able to use a text editor or e-book reader without the company receiving that piece of information.
The software operates as follows: when using the Internet, the server sees the user’s IP address and records all the information. This could include the geographic location of the users and the Internet provider that they use. Next, it would generate an information table with the date, time, and type of computer, Internet provider, city, state, and hash of the application.
Paul remarked that Apple or anyone can calculate these hashes for all kinds of programs in the App Store, the cloud, and the Tor browser, among others. According to the expert, the company would know when users are at home, when they are at work, which applications they open and how often.
Exposure of Privacy to Everyone on the Internet
The analyst sent a message to inadvertent users who do not believe that the situation is risky. He warned them that “it is not just Apple, since they do not keep that information. Those OCSP requests (revocation status of a digital certificate) are transmitted without encryption.”
It is possible to deduce that those people with an Internet connection would have access to these data. Besides, the information would pass through a CDN (content distribution network) controlled by third parties.
The analyst claimed that Apple had been a partner in the clandestine PRISM spy program of the US military intelligence community since October 2012. The California-based multinational has rejected the above claim in the past.
“Your computer now serves a remote master who has decided that he has the right to spy on you. If you have the most efficient laptop in the world, you cannot turn this off,” the analyst emphasized.
User Reactions on macOS
It was not necessary to wait for users to express their opinions on the operating system. There were views on two fronts: the first, on Paul’s report and privacy, and the second, on the delays in downloading and updating its systems.
On his Twitter account, user @M1K33EE questioned what Apple would be running. He wrote that users might want to “think twice before buying that new shiny Apple Silicon Mac with macOS Big Sur, especially if they value their privacy.” He added that “Apple watches and records every application that they open with a new operating system.”
Another Twitter user, @JuarezVega22, criticized the slowness to upgrade to the new operating system and the errors that trying to install them have generated. He said that he believed that he was the only one who had been waiting for the update since September, to then come across this situation. He commented that “most Apple’s services are down.” Also, he stressed that “those who are not slow must have gone through something very ugly.”
By Alexander Salazar