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1-min read

There Are 1325 Android Apps That Steal Your Data, Even After You Say No; Fix Incoming With Android Q

The data that these apps have access to include your location history.

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Updated:July 9, 2019, 1:42 PM IST
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There Are 1325 Android Apps That Steal Your Data, Even After You Say No; Fix Incoming With Android Q
Representative Image. (Image: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)
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Your phone’s data might not be as safe as it appears. According to a study conducted by researchers from the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), more than 1325 Android apps breach the data available on the phone even after the users deny access permission to them. The research detailed at how a number of Play Store apps are able to ignore the user’s permissions in order to access and share data available on your smartphone. The data that these apps have access to include your location history.

This breach of user permission includes identifying the user, the phone’s location and sharing of access permissions between apps. The study comes in as a new security concern for smartphone users, especially to those who are glued to their phones most of the times. These Android apps get an access to user’s data via two ways. The first has to do with Android and third-party SDK vulnerabilities, such as Unity, which allows dozens of apps to store unique identifiers for the mobile device. The second one, known as covert channels, gives apps a clever or unorthodox way to share user information with apps that don’t have the same permissions.

While the tech giants like Google and Apple are working hard to improve their privacy setting, as in to avoid unnecessary breach and sharing of data, the new study has made it harder for Android users to put their trust upon a number of apps. The study was presented by Serge Egelman, director of usable security and privacy research at the ICSI, in late June at the Federal Trade Commission’s PrivacyCon. The researchers have also been awarded at the Usenix Security Conference for their work towards highlighting the issues in Android apps.

In the meantime, it is believed that Google will be able to fix this issue with the upcoming Android Q operating system.

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