June 8, 2011 at 3:59 PM ET
While beta testing iOS 5 — the next version of Apple's mobile operating system — one man spotted something peculiar: A pop-up message which warned him that he was making an unsecured call that could be intercepted.
Is Apple intending to keep users informed about cellular network security?
iOS 5 won't be publicly released until the fall, but iOS developers already have access to a beta version of the software. One of those developers, an iPhone hacker who goes by the name MuscleNerd, was the individual who happened upon the mysterious pop-up message.
"Unsecured Call," the notification warned, "The cellular network you are using is not encrypted. This call can be intercepted by unauthorized listeners." (Screenshot at right.)
MuscleNerd posted the screenshot and suggested that it may be related to discoveries of how easily GSM voice calls could be intercepted and spied on by individuals who set up fake base stations and trick mobile devices into connecting to them.
It would make sense that Apple might attempt to warn users of such security risks or that it would show warnings when a user is roaming on an insecure cellular network.
Of course, at this point we are merely speculating about the nature of the pop-up message. There was no explanation as to what exactly triggered it or whether its appearance was somehow forced by the user, and we are unable to trigger the message on our own iOS devices.