Google Pixel mail-in repairs have allegedly twice resulted in leaked pics and a privacy nightmare

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After crippled decorator and writer Jane McGonigal sent her Pixel 5a successful for repair astatine Google, idiosyncratic allegedly took and hacked her device. This is astatine slightest the 2nd study successful arsenic galore weeks from idiosyncratic claiming they sent a Google telephone successful for repair, lone to person it utilized to leak their backstage information and photographs. She posted a elaborate relationship of the concern connected Twitter today and advised different users not to nonstop their phones successful for repair with the company.

Yeah, don't nonstop your Google telephone successful for warranty repair/replacement. As has happened with others, past nighttime idiosyncratic utilized it to log into my gmail, Drive, photos backup email account, dropbox, and I tin spot from enactment logs they opened a clump of selfies hoping to find nudes

— Jane McGonigal (@avantgame) December 4, 2021

In October, McGonigal sent her breached Pixel 5a for a repair astatine an authoritative Pixel repair halfway successful Texas. McGonigal tweeted aboriginal that Google said it ne'er received the phone, and during the ensuing weeks, she was charged for a replacement device.

But according to McGonigal, the device’s FedEx tracking accusation shows it arrived astatine the installation weeks ago. Late past nighttime — a fewer hours aft she says she yet received a refund for the instrumentality — idiosyncratic seems to person utilized the “missing” telephone to wide two-factor authentication checks and log successful to respective of her accounts, including her Dropbox, Gmail, and Google Drive.

The enactment triggered respective email information alerts to McGonigal’s backup accounts. However, whoever has the telephone whitethorn person utilized it to entree her backup email addresses and past dumped immoderate information alerts successful her spam folder.

“The photos they opened were of maine successful bathing suits, sports bras, form-fitting dresses, and of stitches aft surgery,” McGonigal writes. “They deleted Google information notifications successful my backup email accounts.”

In a connection emailed to The Verge, Google spokesperson Alex Moriconi says, “We are investigating this claim.” It’s inactive unclear whether the instrumentality might’ve been intercepted wrong the repair installation oregon portion it was successful transit, oregon who has it now. Google’s official repair instructions urge backing up and past erasing a instrumentality earlier sending it in. Still, arsenic Jane McGonigal points out, that’s either hard oregon impossible, depending connected the damage.

The full concern reminds america of the information concerns whenever we blindly manus implicit our devices for repair, and unfortunately, specified enactment has a precedent. In June, Apple paid millions to a woman aft repair technicians posted her nudes to Facebook. That institution recently said it would commencement selling DIY repair kits, giving you the accidental to hole your telephone yourself, oregon astatine slightest person the task done by idiosyncratic that you trust, arsenic opposed to sending it successful oregon dropping it disconnected astatine an Apple Store.

For Pixel phones, your options for authoritative service are either via mail-in or, successful immoderate countries, section work done an authorized provider. In the United States, Google partners with uBreakiFix franchises. Whatever you choose, there’s a level of spot needed to springiness up your phone, whether it’s implicit the antagonistic oregon shipped hundreds of miles away.

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