Menu
Aggressive Advertisers Pose Privacy Risks

Aggressive Advertisers Pose Privacy Risks

Covert user profiling through popular apps

Ranking Android apps were found to be extremely curious while collecting and uploading location, email address, and user phone numbers to third-party servers, Bitdefender research has found.

A recent study of some 130,000 popular free Android apps revealed that aggressive advertisers breach user privacy by uploading phone numbers to third-party entities. Some 12.87 percent of analysed apps were found to collect and broadcast users’ phone numbers without explicit notification.

Location data and personal email addresses were also accessed and distributed to third parties by 12.03 percent and 7.72 percent, respectively, of analysed apps.

“The thin line between aggressive advertisers and malware is getting blurrier,” said Bitdefender chief security strategist Catalin Cosoi. “While malware may steal passwords and other credentials, aggressive advertisers may collect everything else. Although violating user privacy raises serious concerns, the risk of having collected data used for malicious purposes is greater than most people imagine.”

While some apps may legitimately require access to such data, others access it without the app explicitly needing it to perform adequately. Apps that access browsing history amount to 6.07 percent of the survey sample, while some apps even require access to photos.

Although some analysed apps have been updated to meet proper user privacy guidelines, previous versions of Texas Poker, by KamaGames, and Paradise Island, by Game Insight International, uploaded user phone numbers to third parties.

Android users are advised to exercise extreme caution when installing apps and to always check for what permissions they require. Installing a mobile security solution that can detect virulent adware is also recommended, as data privacy should be a top priority.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Events

Why experience is the new battleground for partners

Join us for an exclusive webinar, in association with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) and learn about the latest industry insights and how technology services continue to evolve to deliver differentiated value, and how partners can be successful in 2021 and beyond.

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments