Feeds

Xiaomi updates cloud messaging after privacy scare

Encrypting data, off-by-default

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Chinese mobe-maker Xiaomi has changed the defaults on its cloud messaging service, in response to concerns raised by F-Secure that it was storing users' private data.

At issue is a service provided for its Mi phones, which was switched on by default until the over-the-air update was issued. In this blog post, F-Secure notes that the phones send carrier name, IMEI, phone number, and contacts to a Xiaomi server when switched on – and that it was sent unencrypted.

The service is intended to operate as an over-the-top messaging app: if there's an IP connection available, it will route messages over that, using SMS as a fallback. While that requires that numbers pass through the Xiaomi servers, the privacy scare related to how long that data might be kept by the company.

In response, Xiaomi's VP Hugo Barra has offered an explanation on Google+.

“MIUI Cloud Messaging uses SIM and device identifiers (phone number, IMSI and IMEI) for routing messages between two users, in the same way as some of the most popular messaging services”, he writes. “Users’ phonebook contact data or social graph information (i.e. the mapping between contacts) are never stored on Cloud Messaging servers, and message content (in encrypted form) is not kept for longer than necessary to ensure immediate delivery to the receiver.”

However, in response to the F-Secure post, he adds that the service will no longer be switched on by default. After running the over-the-air update, users will have to turn the service on manually.

“We apologize for any concern caused to our users and Mi fans. We would also like to thank the media and users who have been sending us feedback and suggestions, allowing us to improve and provide better Internet services”, Barra writes.

He added that the update also turns on encryption for numbers sent to the Xiaomi servers. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.