How iPhone Copy and Paste Leaks Put Your Data at Risk

We’ve never considered that iPhone copy and paste leaks could lead to data breaches regarding our personal information. From helping organize our diaries to copying email addresses, this innocuous tool plays a vital role in enhancing our everyday digital lives.


It’s a commonly-used, beneficial function and unassociated with malicious data leaks - until now.

iPhone’s copy and paste vulnerability


This potential copy and paste breach has been discovered by two software developers in Germany and Canada.


It works like this:


When we copy information, our iPhones assume we want to paste into the next app we open.


So the active app running in the phone’s foreground has access to the operating system’s pasteboard, essentially a temporary storage space for any copied information.  


The researchers discovered how every single app a user opens on their iPhone can access this pasteboard. Not only that but they can even write or rewrite from it.


What this means is, if you copy and paste someone’s bank account details or a password, then other apps might be able to see and access this information, putting you and your personal data at risk. Someone up to no good could use this copy and paste vulnerability to devise an app capable of stealing this sensitive information without the user ever being aware. If the data includes photos taken on a device, then this could even include a user’s location.


To make things worse, the shared pasteboard is also accessible to all Apple devices linked to the same Apple ID. So if a malicious app runs on your phone, you copy and paste something on your computer, then the app could potentially access this information too.


* * * 


Of course, this news doesn’t mean you should stop using the copy and paste function. It’s an immensely useful tool aimed at helping us get our lives in shape for the demands of the busy, modern world. But this new research demonstrates just how easy it is for our personal data to be put at risk.


We urge you to check what apps you have on your device, the permissions they have and visit Clario’s blog to stay up-to-date with all the latest developments in digital privacy and cybersecurity.

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