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google pixel photo acropalypse
© Craig Russell |
Security & privacy

Warning: Another reason you shouldn’t send sensitive images (even if you crop them)

The internet is a big place, and sharing the wrong photo of yourself might land you in trouble. Some choose to crop identifying details out of intimate images, but the “Acropalypse” exploit within the Google Pixel ecosystem could render this precaution totally void.

Read on for details on one dangerous way your privacy might be violated (even if your media never leaves your device).

What is the Acropalypse exploit?

Simon Aarons and David Buchanan, two security experts, have uncovered a startling flaw in Pixel’s native Markup photo editor.

After being shared, downloaded or stolen off a smartphone, photos cropped in Markup can be recovered in their original forms. This includes images with “markups” or redactions drawn over the top.

This is terrible for many reasons. If you’ve ever uploaded an edited or cropped image of something like your driver’s license to social media or any other site, your privacy might be in jeopardy.

If you’ve ever used Markup to redact the faces of your kids posted to your feed, we recommend deleting them immediately.

Are your cropped photos private?

The researchers also published this site, which can demonstrate the problem. All you have to do is select your device in the drop-down menu and upload a Pixel photo cropped in Markup, and you’ll be able to see the complete original version.

The most disturbing part about this technical issue is that despite the fact that Google has addressed the Markup vulnerability, photos edited in Markup before the discovery can still be fully recovered. 

While Pixel phones are generally believed to be some of the best in the game regarding security, it’s always a good idea to ensure that your software is up-to-date and any necessary security settings are already in place.

There are many ways to be sure your personal life and private information are never revealed to threat actors and thieves. Your social media privacy settings and how you store your photo collection should all revolve around a candid attitude toward safety. Tap or click here for 10 Facebook privacy and security settings you need to change right now.

Keep reading

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How to hide photos and videos from your phone’s camera roll

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