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14 March 2011, 09:02

iOS 4.3: Apple improves IPv6 users' privacy

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iPhone ipv6 In January, The H reported on smartphones with IPv6 compromising users' privacy: Since version 4 of the iOS mobile operating system, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices had transmitted their hardware address to the internet if IPv6 was enabled in the wireless network. This allowed devices, and consequently users, on the network to be identified without any further information.

In the current iOS 4.3, Apple has enabled the "Privacy Extensions", which use temporary random addresses instead of a fixed hardware ID. This change is described in a modest reference to RFC 3041 (a document that was revised in 2007) under the heading "Networking" in the new iOS's list of changes.

Android is now the only popular operating system that doesn't allow users to protect their privacy on IPv6.

However, another IPv6 bug hasn't been tackled in iOS 4.3: If IPv6 is available on a wireless network but a connection to the server cannot be established, iOS continues to produce an error instead of trying to connect via IPv4. This fall-back to IPv4 option is what is intended in the relevant internet standards.


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