Google Removes Suspension on Android Wallpaper Apps Falsely Accused of Spyware and Stealing Sensitive User Data
Aug 5, 2010 8:35 AM –
We have the final verdict, Google has removed the suspension placed on Android wallpaper apps falsely accused of spyware and stealing sensitive user data. Last week VentureBeat incorrectly reported wallpaper Android apps stole sensitive user data from millions who downloaded the app and sent the information to a website in China based on research mobile security firm Lookout revealed at a Blackhat hackers conference. VentureBeat later went on to correct some of the information, by that time of correction it was too late as worldwide media inaccurately reported the facts.
We, AndroidTapp.com, were the one media source to do the simple task in an exclusive interview of asking the developer Jackeey Wu, who’s app were accused of stealing this personal data, what he was doing with it. We also got accurate statements from Lookout regarding what they showed as an example of possible vulnerabilities of sensitive user data being leaked. Overall, Google investigated the wallpaper apps and concluded they were not malicious however they access unnecessary data, here is a quote from what they told Wu:
“Our investigation has concluded that there’s no obvious malicious code in your apps, though the implementation accesses data that it doesn’t need to.”
Google went on to make suggestions to Wu on how to improve his applications by reducing permissions and not collecting unnecessary data.
I circled back to Lookout CEO, John Hering, for a statement regarding the awareness raised in their research:
“Mobile platforms such as Android, iPhone, and Blackberry are making application development easier than ever before but as these platforms grant access to sensitive user data, developers must ensure that they are acting as responsible stewards of users’ data and taking extra efforts to protect their privacy. Our goal is to help make users and developers alike more aware of what is happening in the world of mobile apps to ensure a safe mobile experience.”
My Final Conclusion
I believe what we can learn from this situation; as users and consumers we must be more aware of the permissions an app is requesting at the confirmation screen in Google’s Android Market, if you are uncomfortable with what it requests either do not download it or send the developer an email asking for more clarification.
Some in the media claimed to excuse the fact-checking debacle by implying the developer in this case was “elusive”, however untrue, the simple fact is that all developers in the Android Market email addresses are published for easy customer or technical support communication.
Developers should be more conscious of protecting sensitive user data, only access necessary data, as well as ensure consumer protective privacy policies for their products and services.
Tags: Android App
, Android App Data Security
, False Accusations
, Fear Uncertainty Doubt
, Google Removes Suspension on Android Wallpaper Apps
, jackeey wallpaper
, Jackeey Wu
, Lookout Mobile Security
, Malicious Android Apps
, Spyware Android Apps
, Wallpaper Apps
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