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65% of all Android applications spy on their users

4 February 2011, by — admin ()

Researchers called Android’s integrated security system inefficient after finding out that two out of three Android applications log dialed phone numbers and GPS coordinates, as well and perform other rather suspicious activities.

22 out of 30 popular apps downloaded from Android Market performed did the following:

  • 15 applications forwarded the device’s GPS coordinates to advertising companies
  • and 7 other applications sent personal user data to third-party servers.

Nearly all applications did not let users know about these activities, although some of them sent data as often as twice a minute. It clearly demonstrates that the current security mechanisms used in Android OS do not guarantee users’ protection from actions performed by hidden functions of any of the available 70,000 applications.

Representatives of Google Inc, the developer of Android OS, recommend installing trusted and verified applications only.

Bear in mind that Android is an open source operating system and this fact enabled the researchers to create TaintDroid, a special tool for monitoring  confidential data used for this experiment. If a similar tool could be created for closed operating systems by Apple, RIM or Microsoft, the results might well be similar.

The research team did not mention the names of the apps they used in the experiment and have no plans to make TaintDroid publicly available.

New online service Hoverwatch keeps a detailed log and records all conversations, allowing you to find out everything from contact name to the duration of the call.

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