Saturday, November 3, 2012

Twenty Five Percent of Android Apps Present Security Risks

Do people really pay attention to the laundry list of permissions presented to the user when installing Android apps?  Why would a wallpaper or a board game need access to a user's GPS data or call history?  Bit9 examined the security permissions of more than 400,000 Android applications.  Its CTO stated that “a significant percentage of Google Play apps have access to potentially sensitive and confidential information.” “When a seemingly basic app such as a wallpaper requests access to GPS data, this raises a red flag. Likewise, more than a quarter of the apps can access email and contacts unbeknown to the phone user, which is of great concern when these devices are used in the workplace.”

Other findings included:
  • 42 percent of applications access GPS location data, and these include wallpapers, games and utilities
  • 31 percent access phone calls or phone numbers
  • 26 percent access personal data, such as contacts and email
  • 9 percent use permissions that can cost the user money 
To explain its findings, Bit9 created this chart (you may also see Bit9's article here):

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