Mobile Apps for Smartphones Share Personal Information

We’ve discovered online retailers change their pricing based on what device you are using, as well as where you are located. The latest news is just as disturbing. Your smartphones–yes, Apple and Android alike–are sharing your personal data, unencrypted to third party advertisers more often than not. Seriously. Here is a clip of an article from GadgetMasters that published last month. It offers clips from a research project done by Appthority, a business that offers app risk management information to businesses.

Appthority has published a report on security risks behind apps on iOS and Android platform. The report summarizes differences between the two platforms for business, education, entertainment, finance, and games applications. Appthority also compared app behaviours and developers of the applications in question.

“Appthority’s research team used the cloud-based Appthority Platform™ to perform static and dynamic app analysis on the 100 most popular apps. The company analyzed each app for particular behaviors within a test environment. These behaviors include sending and receiving data without encryption, location tracking, sharing data with advertising or analytics networks, accessing the user’s contact list or address book, and accessing the user’s calendar. From this internal data, the company identified the top
security risks behind these mobile apps.” – Appthority

Appthority’s things you should know about smartphone applications:

The vast majority of free apps send and receive data to outside parties without encryption.
96% of total apps share data with advertising networks and/or analytics companies.
79% of the top 50 free iOS and Android apps are associated with risky behaviors or privacy issues. Overall, iOS apps exhibited more risky behaviors than Android apps.
Entertainment apps were the worst offenders out of the top five categories, with the highest number of apps that track for location and share data with advertising networks and/or analytics companies.
While 14% of iOS apps had access to a user’s calendar, none of the Android apps had similar access.
More than half of the total apps track for location by accessing the device GPS or using other location tracking methods.
More than 80% of apps across categories come from different unique, individual developers.

The report indicates that some of the top free mobile applications are associated with substantial security issues and privacy risks. These applications don’t install malware on your smartphone but they are considered to show exhibit risky behaviour as they share unencrypted data.

Entertainment apps are most likely to track for user location and share data with third parties. iOS apps had more access to user data than Android. In fact, this year’s iOS apps had even more access to data than the iOS apps from last year. – Appthority

With more and more incentive to monetize from mobile applications, Developers are building apps that share your personal data with the outside parties. People in the tech industry generally perceive iOS as the more safer option compared to Android due to mobile malware. The fact is that mobile malware infects less than one percent of apps. “The real concern should be over how mobile apps are handling personal info and company data. In that respect, iPhones should not be considered any safer than Android devices.”

Click here to read the article in it’s entirety.

Mobile Apps for Smartphones Share Personal Information


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