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Mobile Privacy

What is Mobile Privacy? – What Do Your Apps Know About You?


What is Mobile Privacy?: Today, a smartphone user has 60-90 apps on their device. Most of these apps will ask for information about you and the device you are using. They may want to know your name, email address, or physical address.

But with the power of smartphones, they can do so much more, like your exact location. Some apps also request access to the device’s camera or microphone.

What is Mobile Privacy? How To Protect Your Apps

Although this is all done with the user’s consent, you might be surprised at how much some apps have access to personal information. For example, did you know that 45% of the most popular Android apps and 25% of the most popular iOS apps require engagement? Do 46% of popular Android apps and 25% of popular iOS apps ask for permission to access your device’s camera? Some Android apps also request permission to access your text messages and phone calls.

Under the Microscope

To find out what data your apps need, we decided to look at the most popular ones. We downloaded and analyzed the top 100 free apps listed on the Play Store and Apple App Store as of May 3, 2018. For each app, we tried to determine the two most important things: frequency of release by the users and application. Which smartphone installs a pirated application? There is no random behavior in the image. In general, data sharing is possible with device licenses and user consent. And apps are a good reason to want it. For example, a taxi app should be able to locate the user to get the driver where he needs to go. Instead, we’re more concerned about each app requesting too much data access or whether app developers are trying to protect user privacy.

Personal Information

One of the first things we noticed was how much personally identifiable information (PII) the app asks users to share. Email addresses are the most shared apps, accounting for 48% of iOS apps found and 44% of Android apps. Next is the username (usually a person’s full name on a social media site or app), with 33% of iOS apps and 30% of Android apps being longer. The phone number was shared by 12% of iOS apps and 9% of Android apps. Finally, 4% of iOS applications and 5% of Android applications share the address of the user.

Some Deals are Worse than Others

In addition to personal data, apps need permission to access various features on your mobile device. For example, if you want to take a photo with Instagram, the app must allow you to use your device’s camera.

There are many permissions an app can request, but not all permissions are the same. That’s why we focus on what we call “harmful access” – anything that can access data or objects containing personal information, related to user data that has been saved if other applications are running. Examples of insecure permissions include access to location, contacts, text messages, phone logs, cameras, and calendars.

Are all Permissions Required?

Are some apps asking for too many permissions? We took a closer look at some of the people who seem to be asking for more. The first Android app “Zodiac Signs 101 – 12 Zodiac Signs & Astrology” has been downloaded over a million times.

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Include user interactions
  • Sending and receiving SMS
  • Receiving MMS messages
  • It is possible to call telephone numbers directly
  • Do not allow outgoing calls to change
  • Access to phone call recordings
  • Access to the camera
  • Read/write the contents of the USB key
  • Find phone location and identity

The second example we looked at was the app”Brightest Flashlight LED – Super Bright Torch“, which has 10 million installs. Included in the list of permissions it sought were:

  • Precise user location
  • Access to user’s contacts
  • Send SMS messages
  • Permission to directly call phone numbers
  • Permission to reroute outgoing calls
  • Access to camera
  • Record audio via a microphone
  • Read/write contents of USB storage
  • Read phone status and identity

Simple Security Measures

In particular, some of the apps we tested used security and privacy features. 4% of Android apps require secure access and 3% of iOS apps have no privacy settings. Ideally, every app should have a privacy policy that clearly states what data it collects, where it’s stored, who it shares it with, etc.

Currently, very few apps use a certificate to log in: 8% of Android apps and 11% of iOS apps. What is the Certificate? Security alerts help hackers block supposedly secure connections. This is done by ensuring that the program communicates with the server with a valid security certificate.

What is Mobile Privacy? Bambooz for Privacy

Even though apps have privacy settings, it’s still difficult to monitor what users allow. Although each app has its own license and privacy policy, some are different.

  • While some apps are standalone, others require additional functionality, such as showing ads or adding titles, providing additional layers of gameplay for you to work properly and connect to other apps and other websites. Some of them are third-party apps.
  • Each additional app may (or may not) have its privacy policy, and the user may assume that the above privacy policy is included in subsequent app downloads.
  • However, many applications do not allow the use of third-party data.

In short, even if you’re sure you’re right about an app’s privacy policy when other apps are connected, the picture gets complicated, especially when it comes to third parties.

What is Mobile Privacy? Protection of Your Privacy

How not to give up on the highways
Before installing the app:

  • Read the application instructions.
  • Consider which app needs the permission it is asking for. If the mandates seem overwhelming, ask yourself if they can come and study for you.
  • Read the privacy policy. If you don’t or can’t see where your data is, don’t install the app.

If you have the app installed:

  • For Android apps, you can remove unauthorized permissions by going to the Settings menu and clicking Permissions. Removing permissions can break a poorly designed app. Well-designed apps will tell you when you’re trying to do something for which they need permission.
  • For iOS apps, you can remove unauthorized permissions by going to the Settings menu and clicking on Privacy.

What is Mobile Privacy? How to Protect Your Personal Information

Read the privacy policy of each social networking site and app you use.

  • Of course, don’t log into the app with your public account. If so, check the information the app receives from your social media accounts.
  • If you connect your social media accounts to apps, be careful about how much information you share in public posts on social media sites.
  • If you send data from your app to a social networking site, consider whether you want the social networking site to have access to this information about your app.

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