The hottest news lately has to be the discovery of the CarrierIQ software residing in most Android phones. If you are still not aware, CarrierIQ is a tracking software that can track almost every single bit of information in your phone, including the characters you typed in your keyboard, the website you visited, the information stored in your phone and many more, without your knowledge and permission. Unlike most third party app where you have to install manually, this software comes in-built in the phone and since it lies at the kernel of the OS, it can’t be removed easily.
For those of you who are not sure if your Android phone comes with this tracking software, simply go to the market and search with the term “carrierIQ detector“. It should return a big list of CarrierIQ detector app that you can install to check if your phone is infected.
I tried with the Lookout CarrierIQ Detector and this is what it shows on the screen when you run the app.
What should I do if my phone is infected?
As the CarrierIQ is embedded in the kernel level, there is no way to remove the tracking software within the OS. If you are technical competent and are willing to void your warranty, the only way to remove CarrierIQ from your phone is to root your phone and replace the existing ROM with a custom ROM. Popular third-party ROMs such as Cyanogenmod and MIUI are community-based and are safe from CarrierIQ’s clutches.
Note: As there are too many Android phones, each with their own rooting method, we won’t be discussing in detail the method to root your phone and install custom ROM.
Apple admits that the CarrierIQ is included in iOS as well, but they do provide you with a way to turn it off.
In your iPhone, go to “Settings -> About -> Diagnostics & Usage”. Select “Don’t Send“.