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Over 1,300 Android Apps Caught Collecting Data Even If You Deny Permissions

Over 1,300 Android Apps Caught Collecting Data Even If You Deny Permissions

July 09, 2019Mohit Kumar
Smartphones are a goldmine of sensitive data, and modern apps work as diggers that continuously collect every possible information from your devices. The security model of modern mobile operating systems, like Android and iOS, is primarily based on permissions that explicitly define which sensitive services, device capabilities, or user information an app can access, allowing users decide what apps can access. However, new findings by a team of researchers at the International Computer Science Institute in California revealed that mobile app developers are using shady techniques to harvest users' data even after they deny permissions. In their talk " 50 Ways to Pour Your Data " [ PDF ] at PrivacyCon hosted by the Federal Trade Commission last Thursday, researchers presented their findings that outline how more than 1,300 Android apps are collecting users' precise geolocation data and phone identifiers even when they've explicitly denied the required permi
Facebook Collected Your Android Call History and SMS Data For Years

Facebook Collected Your Android Call History and SMS Data For Years

March 25, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Facebook knows a lot about you, your likes and dislikes—it's no surprise. But do you know, if you have installed Facebook Messenger app on your Android device, there are chances that the company had been collecting your contacts, SMS, and call history data at least until late last year. A tweet from Dylan McKay, a New Zealand-based programmer, which received more than 38,000 retweets (at the time of writing), showed how he found his year-old data—including complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages—in an archive he downloaded (as a ZIP file) from Facebook. Facebook was collecting this data on its users from last few years, which was even reported earlier in media, but the story did not get much attention at that time. Since Facebook had been embroiled into controversies over its data sharing practices after the Cambridge Analytica scandal last week, tweets from McKay went viral and has now fueled the never-ending privacy debate. A Facebook spokespe
All Android Phones Vulnerable to Extremely Dangerous Full Device Takeover Attack

All Android Phones Vulnerable to Extremely Dangerous Full Device Takeover Attack

May 25, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Researchers have discovered a new attack, dubbed 'Cloak and Dagger', that works against all versions of Android, up to version 7.1.2. Cloak and Dagger attack allows hackers to silently take full control of your device and steal private data, including keystrokes, chats, device PIN, online account passwords, OTP passcode, and contacts. What's interesting about Cloak and Dagger attack? The attack doesn't exploit any vulnerability in Android ecosystem; instead, it abuses a pair of legitimate app permissions that is being widely used in popular applications to access certain features on an Android device. Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered this attack, who successfully performed it on 20 people and none of them were able to detect any malicious activity. Cloak and Dagger attacks utilise two basic Android permissions: SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW ("draw on top") BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE ("a11y") The first permissi
Google Won't Patch A Critical Android Flaw Before ‘Android O’ Release

Google Won't Patch A Critical Android Flaw Before ‘Android O’ Release

May 10, 2017Mohit Kumar
Millions of Android smartphones are at serious risk of "screen hijack" vulnerability that allows hackers to steal your passwords, bank details, as well as helps ransomware apps extort money from victims. The worse thing is that Google says it won't be patched until the release of 'Android O' version, which is scheduled for release in the 3rd quarter this year. And the worse, worse, worse thing is that millions of users are still waiting for Android N update from their device manufacturers (OEMs), which apparently means that majority of smartphone users will continue to be victimized by ransomware, adware and banking Trojans for at least next one year. According to CheckPoint security researchers, who discovered this critical flaw, the problem originates due to a new permission called " SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW ," which allows apps to overlap on a device's screen and top of other apps. This is the same feature that lets Facebook Messenger float
Uh-Oh! Pokémon GO grants itself 'Full Access' to your Google Account — Fix It NOW

Uh-Oh! Pokémon GO grants itself 'Full Access' to your Google Account — Fix It NOW

July 12, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Nintendo's new location-based augmented reality game Pokémon GO has been making rounds since its launch just a few days ago. People are so excited to catch 'em all that brought Nintendo's market-value gains to $7.5 Billion (£5.8 Billion) in just two days – the highest surge since 1983. Due to the huge interest surrounding Pokémon GO, even hackers are using the game's popularity to distribute malicious versions of Pokémon GO that could install DroidJack malware on Android phones, allowing them to compromise user's devices completely. However, the latest threat is related to the privacy concerns raised about the iOS version of the official Pokémon GO app. Pokémon GO – A Huge Security Risk Adam Reeve labeled the game "malware," saying that Pokémon GO is a "huge security risk" as the game, for some reason, grants itself "full account access" to your Google account when you sign into the app via Google on iPhone or iPad. Ye
Android Vulnerability Allows Applications to Make Unauthorized Calls without Permissions

Android Vulnerability Allows Applications to Make Unauthorized Calls without Permissions

July 08, 2014Mohit Kumar
A major vulnerability believed to be present in most versions of Android can allow a malicious Android applications on the Android app store to make phone calls on a user’s device, even when they lack the necessary permissions. The critical vulnerability was identified and reported to Google Inc. late last year by researchers from German security firm Curesec. The researchers believe the virus was first noticed in Android version 4.1, also known as “ Jelly Bean .” APPS CAN MAKE CALLS FROM YOUR PHONE “ This bug can be abused by a malicious application. Take a simple game which is coming with this code. The game won’t ask you for extra permissions to do a phone call to a toll number – but it is able to do it ,” Curesec’s CEO Marco Lux and researcher Pedro Umbelino said Friday in a blog post. “ This is normally not possible without giving the app this special permission. ” By leveraging these vulnerabilities, malicious applications could initiate unauthorized phone call
Google Play Store Update Allows Apps to Silently Gain Control of Your Device

Google Play Store Update Allows Apps to Silently Gain Control of Your Device

June 13, 2014Mohit Kumar
Google just made a huge change to the way application permissions work on Android devices which has left a potential door open to malicious app developers and hackers. Google narrows down Android's 145 permissions into 13 broad categories and groups app permissions into ' groups of related permissions ', likely for Android users to have an easier time dealing with app permissions. Unfortunately, the new update has introduced a few potential security and privacy issues, as listed below: hiding permissions behind the group names auto-updating app with no warning for new permissions According to new update, once a user approves an app’s permissions, he actually approves the whole respective permission groups. For example, if an app want to read your incoming SMS messages, then it requires the “ Read SMS messages ” permission. But now installing an app, you are actually giving it access to all SMS-related permissions. The app developer can then include
Developer expelled by Google Play Store on posting Malicious Android apps

Developer expelled by Google Play Store on posting Malicious Android apps

January 01, 2013Mohit Kumar
Google Play Developer Console enables developers to easily publish and distribute their applications directly to users of Android-compatible phones. Recently someone posted on Reddit that a developer is trying to spread malware by masquerading infected programs as legitimate software. The account of the developer called, “ apkdeveloper ” and readers spotted that they are posting fake malware apps by names of famous android games and apps, using the word "Super" as suffix to them, making them seem as an upgraded version of the game. The users can find the difference between the real app and malicious app by observing the device permissions, like as compared to the simple permissions like network access and read write access of the original Temple Run app, the ‘ Temple Run Super ’ app asks for sensitive information like location, phone status, identity and access to user accounts. After many report abuse Google Play has removed the developer from the store p
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