Dear Visitor,

Our system has found that you are using an ad-blocking browser add-on.

We just wanted to let you know that our site content is, of course, available to you absolutely free of charge.

Our ads are the only way we have to be able to bring you the latest high-quality content, which is written by professional journalists, with the help of editors, graphic designers, and our site production and I.T. staff, as well as many other talented people who work around the clock for this site.

So, we ask you to add this site to your Ad Blocker’s "white list" or to simply disable your Ad Blocker while visiting this site.

Continue on this site freely
  HOME     MENU     SEARCH     NEWSLETTER    
THE ENTERPRISE SECURITY SUPERSITE. UPDATED ABOUT A MINUTE AGO.
You are here: Home / Mobile Security / Many Android Apps Track Users
Study: Many Android Apps Secretly Track Users
Study: Many Android Apps Secretly Track Users
By Alex Hern Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
NOVEMBER
29
2017
More than three in four Android apps contain at least one third-party "tracker," according to a new analysis of hundreds of apps.

The study by French research organization Exodus Privacy and Yale University's Privacy Lab analyzed the mobile apps for the signatures of 25 known trackers, which use various techniques to glean personal information about users to better target them for advertisements and services.

Among the apps found to be using some sort of tracking plugin were some of the most popular apps on the Google Play Store, including Tinder, Spotify, Uber and OKCupid. All four apps use a service owned by Google, called Crashlytics, that primarily tracks app crash reports, but can also provide the ability to "get insight into your users, what they're doing, and inject live social content to delight them."

Other less widely-used trackers can go much further. One cited by Yale is FidZup, a French tracking provider with technology that can "detect the presence of mobile phones and therefore their owners" using ultrasonic tones. FidZup says it no-longer uses that technology, however, since tracking users through simple wifi networks works just as well.

The Yale researchers said: "FidZup's practices closely resemble those of Teemo (formerly known as Databerries), the tracker company that was embroiled in scandal earlier this year for studying the geolocation of 10 million French citizens, and SafeGraph, who ‘collected 17tn location markers for 10m smartphones during [Thanksgiving] last year'. Both of these trackers have been profiled by Privacy Lab and can be identified by Exodus scans."

Yale Privacy Lab is using its research to call on developers, as well as Google, "for increased transparency into privacy and security practice as it relates to these trackers."

The researchers added: "Android users, and users of all app stores, deserve a trusted chain of software development, distribution, and installation that does not include unknown or masked third-party code.

"Scholars, privacy advocates and security researchers should be alarmed by the data, and can provide further analysis now that these findings and the Exodus platform have been made public."

Although Yale didn't examine iOS apps, the company warns that the situation may be no better on Apple's App Store. "Many of the same companies distributing Google Play apps also distribute apps via Apple, and tracker companies openly advertise Software Development Kits (SDKs) compatible with multiple platforms," said the researchers. "Thus, advertising trackers may be concurrently packaged for Android and iOS, as well as more obscure mobile platforms."

© 2017 Guardian Web under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.
Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
MORE IN MOBILE SECURITY

NETWORK SECURITY SPOTLIGHT
China-based Vivo will be the first company to come out with a smartphone featuring an in-display sensor for fingerprint security, beating Apple, Samsung, and other device makers to the punch.

ENTERPRISE SECURITY TODAY
NEWSFACTOR NETWORK SITES
NEWSFACTOR SERVICES
© Copyright 2017 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.