New Android mod protects privacy by feeding apps fake data

By on June 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM.

New Android mod protects privacy by feeding apps fake data

Android Apps Personal Data

MIT’s Technology Review has a nifty roundup of programs designed to help Android users keep their personal data away from the greedy hands of mobile apps that want access to their full contact lists, location data, browser history and more. The most intriguing entry comes from a Bulgarian software developer named Plamen Kosseff, who has actually rewritten the Android operating system so that it gives apps bogus data when users grant them permission to start scrounging around their phone. For example, when users give an app access to their bookmarks, it simply returns the default bookmarks list that came preloaded on their Android phones, or sends out a blank address book to apps that want to see contact lists. Other programs spotlighted in the article include a program from NQ Mobile that creates an encrypted “vault” within users’ devices for personal data that apps can’t access, as well as a still-in-development app from Xuxian Jiang and his team at North Carolina State University that lets users control a lot more of what does and doesn’t get shared with mobile apps. More →

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Major Android vulnerability gives apps access to sensitive data without permission

By on April 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM.

Major Android vulnerability gives apps access to sensitive data without permission

The security of the Android mobile platform has always been a topic of debate. Due to Google’s open ecosystem and less invasive app policing policies, researchers argue that the Google Play marketplace is home to numerous malicious apps. Reports have surfaced over the past few years that claimed even applications from legitimate companies — such as Facebook, Skype and Path — were exploiting Android permissions and secretly accessing data. Paul Brodeur of Leviathan Security had a simple question: what data can an app access when it has no permissions? What he found may be shocking. More →

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