We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Your Pixel Phone Screenshots May Have Exposed Personal Data

The default Google Pixel 7 home screen.
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek

In 2018, Google introduced a photo markup tool into Pixel phones. The tool allowed users to make quick edits to their screenshots, like cropping and redacting. However, unbeknownst to users, a security flaw allowed anyone with the source file to undo those edits and restore the original image.

This means that if you captured a screenshot containing personal information such as credit card numbers, unhashed passwords, etc., censored the info using the markup tool, then shared it to social media, you were potentially giving the whole world the information you were trying to redact. This holds true if you cropped out portions of a screenshot that contained someone’s face or an address on someone’s home. Whatever you were trying to hide or leave out stayed in and could be uncovered by people who know about the exploit.

Fortunately, most sharing apps and social media platforms recompress and reprocess images sent through their services, removing any sensitive material that may have been hidden in the source file. But that’s not always the case. For example, if you shared your marked-up Pixel screenshot on Twitter, you didn’t potentially expose any personal info. But, if you shared through Discord, you might want to check your history and delete any shared screenshots that contained redacted information.

The good news is that the issue appears to have been fixed in the latest Google Pixel update that dropped last week. However, there are potentially millions of vulnerable screenshots out there that could possibly be restored to their original, unedited states. The security flaw was spotted by security researcher Simon Aarons who dubbed it “Acropalypse” and set up a website where you can check to see if your screenshots can be unedited.

Source: Android Authority

Danny Chadwick Danny Chadwick
Danny has been a technology journalist since 2008. He served as senior writer, as well as multimedia and home improvement editor at Top Ten Reviews until 2019. Since then, he has been a freelance contributor to Lifewire and ghostwriter for Fit Small Business. His work has also appeared on Laptop Mag, Tom’s Guide, and business.com. Read Full Bio »