Think that just because you cleared your browsing history, it’ll be removed forever and ever? Not really, if you are using Safari at least. According to a Russian forensics firm, Elcomsoft, Apple has been storing cleared browsing histories on iCloud dating back to a year and maybe more.
According to the Vladimir Katalov, the CEO of Elcomsoft, the browsing histories are store in a separate iCloud record called “tombstone”. It consists of all browsing history details including the date, title, URL, and number of visits to the sites. Sites that have been cleared will be marked as “deleted” in the table, along with the date it’s been deleted.
Fortunately, retrieving that information isn’t an easy task. Katalov said that he had to use his company’s Phone Breaker software to extra the data from iCloud. In addition to that, Apple has been very swift in responding to this news report. Within hours after Forbes first published this finding, Apple began to stop the retrievals, deleting all records older than two weeks.
If it would make you feel better, Forbes believes that storing your browsing history isn’t suspicious and that it is probably just a design issue. Furthermore, Forbes also says that there is no evidence that law enforcement has been able to access this data, and remote attack would be difficult as Phone Breaker requires the hacker to have iCloud login credentials or authentication token stored on the device.