Home > Our Products > Free Android Apps Pose Major Security and Privacy Risks

Free Android Apps Pose Major Security and Privacy Risks

One of the reasons why people prefer Android over other mobile operating systems is because of the plethora of apps available for download on the Google Play store. More than 70% of the apps on the Google Play store are free of cost and some of them are really attractive with impressive features. But there is a downside to these free apps. Researchers from a leading German university have studied the source code of some of the most popular free apps on the Google Play store and have determined that the security features in these apps are really bad. They also said that these apps can be used by hackers and other miscreants as a point of access into your smartphones and tablets. Once they gain access, they can steal sensitive information, plant malicious software and cause a variety of other problems.

What exactly is The Security Risk?

When you open a browser window, you will either see a padlock symbol or a green box in the address bar with ‘https’ written inside it. This signifies the usage of SSL or the secure socket layer protocol for the implementation of security measures. This is the one of the most widely used and secured protocols available today. Mobile app developers use what is called as the transport layer security or TSL to implement security in their apps. SSL is a big and integral part of the TSL protocol.

This encrypts the data that is being transmitted to and from your phone or tablet. The researchers studied the data transfer and noted some significant flaws in the implementation of SSL. Without going into complicated details, it was explained that the error in the system was that other people could gain access to the channel of information even though encryption standards were in place. This meant that there was an open channel of information that can be accessed by third parties.

What Are The Implications Of This?

Gaining access is actually 80% of a hacking process. You might think that your data is secure if you stop cookies/ tracking online. But there are other means of tracking your online activities. With access to your smartphone or tablet, hackers can plant malicious software that will transmit valuable information such as the authentication codes for your online bank and credit accounts, any other financial accounts that you might have such as online trading, login credentials of your social media accounts, etc.

That, is just the beginning. With these codes, hackers can pose as you on the internet and cause damages of varying degrees.

Extensive Usage of Mobile Devices Making Hackers’ Job Easier

Another reason why online security experts are taking this threat very seriously is the fact that we are relying on mobile devices extensively in recent times. Gone are the days when we turned on our computer or laptop for checking email or social media updates. All we do is open an app on our smartphone and tablet where we would have already been logged in. Also, there are mobile apps available for online banking, just to add to the convenience factor. But as the convenience increases, so does the security risk.

What Is The Solution For This Problem?

Not all mobile apps are unsafe. Try to use apps only from the proprietors and leading mobile app developers. Also, do not check on the ‘remember me’ option. Even if it means a couple of minutes lost, you will at least have the peace of mind that you are safe and secure. In case you get some message about changing your password or other authorization codes from a suspicious looking email id, contact the service provider immediately and verify the mail.

Categories: Our Products
  1. November 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    That’s it, I’m uninstalling all my daughter’s silly free games that she’s got stored on my iPhone – yikes.

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