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My iPhone Data Travels While I Sleep!

Where does my iPhone Data Travel While I Sleep?

Bill Alderson CTO HOPZERO ►DataTravel Containment, ►Certified NetAnalyst Executive 20 articles Following

I found an Ethernet Adapter for iPhone. I was curious of where my iPhone Data Traveled so I set up a little experiment to see just where my iPhone went at night while I sleep. My iPhone stayed inside the United States while I slept, and on the map above it shows where it traveled. It quiescently Hops around the Internet all night staying in contact with Apple messaging - ready to receive a message at any time. It also checks in with my Microsoft 365 servers to feeding my Outlook for iPhone Inbox all night long. 500,000 network packets in all, and I'm asleep the whole time without any user interactions.

Good thing I am connected to Ethernet that uses only my Internet connection and not my Cellular connection. I turned off, both Wireless and Cellular on my iPhone to make sure all communications went through the Ethernet and thereby my network TAP which my Wireshark network analyzer could capture. I also made sure the Ethernet on my Wireshark did not have an IP Address on it, so my Windows 10 laptop would not add to the network traffic. Only the iPhone traffic was captured.

I started the capture on the iPhone just before bedtime, capturing in my home office. I was comforted by my iPad as an iPhone alternate and nearby iWatch on the charger. How would I otherwise sleep without an electronic pacifier? Morning came early as I had a 7:00 AM call with a new business friend. I stopped the capture, saved it to disk, completed my first call and couldn't wait to upload it to our Portal to discover where and to whom it communicated. I logged in to the HOPZERO Portal, uploaded the Wireshark capture file and in 2 minutes I was looking at all the communications sessions my iPhone had spawned overnight. First thing I checked was the risk score of all the sessions to many Internet sites. All clear. No gnarly IP Addresses connected to while my iPhone's Data Traveled the Internet. Nope, my iPhone didn't cruise any porn, or send any lurid pictures of its interfaces, well interface, it's kind of a hermaphroditic unicorn if you will, having only one interface for all purposes.

Next, I checked to see what TCP and UDP Application ports were used to connect to all these sites, hoping to understand what my phone was trying to do all night. The Map showed it stayed inside the United States. During the day when I was using all kinds of apps it travels the globe. It was a relief that my iPhone was not traveling the entire globe, but of course, traveling anywhere out of my home was expected. Much of the traffic was actually on my private internal network. I have Apple TV's and gizmos and gadgets a plenty. Lots of local traffic between all those Apple Devices. The purpose of HOPZERO's portal and system is not to perform such frivolous tasks, it does the same thing as I did here to monitor where your Oracle Databases storing the Corporate Crown Jewels of HIPAA, PCI, Finance and other such valuables.

I snagged this new Belkin iPhone Ethernet Adapter and decided to see where my iPhone travels at night while I sleep. So now you "get the picture".

I used this new Belkin Ethernet Adapter to see where my iPhone travels at night while I sleep. At top is an Ethernet TAP, passively listening to my iPhone communications to my network, which is feeding my Wireshark network analyzer. The iPhone Ethernet adapter is a cool little gizmo that most people might not ever need. I have been analyzing packets since 1980, way before being a network analyst was cool BTW, just in case you wonder why I would do such an experiment. You wonder, how does my iPhone stay charged? Ah, Power over Ethernet (PoE). That's what powers most VoIP phones and Wireless Access Points without the need for a power brick - the power is sent along with the Ethernet connection - one clean neat cord for both. You can connect a regular iPhone power adapter if you don't have PoE.

Author - Bill Alderson - Bill Alderson is the CTO and co-founder of HOPZERO, a company that limits data travel and creates a “safe house” for organizational datacenters.

Alderson has worked with 75 of the Fortune 100 organizations and gained notoriety for helping the Pentagon recover communications immediately following 911.

**Editors Note - I have known and worked with Bill for over 30 years and he is an innovative , seasoned Expert in the field of Data Protection, Analysis, Diagnostics and Network Solutions!


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