Does The Galaxy S2 Come Pre-Installed With Carrier IQ Rootkit? Plus Steps On How To Remove It
By on December 1st, 2011
Carrier IQ, is one of the leading provide of Mobile Service Intelligence Solutions to the Wireless Industry. The app basically provides some ‘telemetry’ to cellular operators and handset manufacturers so that they can improve their network or handsets. However, last week, one XDA developer – TrevE – found out that Carrier IQ is basically logging every single keypress of the user. Considering the app is pre-installed in more than 140 million handsets, this is definitely serious. Why this issue is serious, you ask? That’s because chances are the app comes pre-installed in your phone and logs all your activity without your consent. It logs everything, right from your messages to your bank account info to anything you enter over a secured HTTPS network as well. The worst part? All this info is saved in a text file, which is then sent to Carrier IQ’s server. Yes, this so called Mobile service intelligence solutions company preloads a rootkit on your phone!

There has a been a huge up-roar about Carrier IQ in the last couple of days. On further research from some developers, it was found out that Carrier IQ comes pre-installed in most of the Android handsets, especially from HTC, and even the almighty iPhone! Considering how much Apple is serious about user activity logging on iOS, this is clearly a baffling news. I would suggest readers to head over to The Verge and find out more about the Carrier IQ rootkit using the brilliant News Stream feature of the site. When I first heard about this Carrier IQ rootkit, I was really interested to see if the app comes pre-installed on one of the most popular Android phones of this year – the Samusng Galaxy S II. Thankfully, TrevE, the developer who unearthed the truth behind Carrier IQ, also released an app which allows people to find out if the CIQ rootkit is pre-loaded on their phone or not, and how to remove it as well.

I tried the app on my Samsung Galaxy S II (GT-I9100), running a leaked Android 2.3.5 stock firmware, and I am pleased to say that Carrier IQ rootkit is not installed on the handset. The app could not find the rootkit even on the Galaxy S2’s predecessor, the Galaxy S.

I ran the app on a bunch of Android running Xperia handsets from Sony Ericsson including the Xperia Arc, Play and Mini, and I am pleased to say the app could not find the Carrier IQ rootkit on these phones. This kinda makes me believe that Carrier IQ comes pre-installed only on HTC manufactured Android phones.
To check if your phone has the Carrier IQ rootkit installed or not, download and install this APK file (Related XDA Post link). Now, start the app and then select the ‘CIQ Checks’ option. If the app finds any CIQ related file in your phone, it will show up under the CIQ File List inside the white window. If the app does find the CIQ rootkit pre-installed in their phone, users can remove it by purchasing the paid version of the app from the Android Market.

Author: Rajesh Pandey Google Profile for Rajesh Pandey
Rajesh is a 19 year old nerd, currently pursuing B.Com Hons from Bhawanipore college in Kolkata, India. He loves everything tech, especially Android. You can follow him on twitter @ePandu or mail to him at rajesh@techie-buzz.com.

Rajesh Pandey has written and can be contacted at rajesh@techie-buzz.com.

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