How private data-hungry are your apps?
For roughly a year, BitDefender has been analyzing free apps on both the Play and iTunes stores through Clueful and has gone through over 500,000 apps before they decided to release their findings. Of course, not all of the apps that can leak your information will. Nevertheless, this particular bit won't be much of a solace to many, or so we suspect.
Speaking of findings, the report names Location Tracking as the most common intrusive activity that apps undertake, at 45.41% of all analyzed apps for iOS opposed to just 34.55% for Android. Next on the list are apps that snoop on your contact list, with 7.69% of Android apps able to take this liberty, as opposed to 18.92% for iOS.
About 6% of analyzed Android apps could leak your e-mail to third parties and nearly 9% have access to your phone number. Moreover, 15% of Android apps have access to your device ID. These 3 categories are among the more delicious to third-party ad networks, for they allow them to send you behaviorally targeted advertisements.
BitDefender's report does go the extra yard to note that not all apps have as sinister intents – some of them need to have access to, say, your location, in order to function properly. What the security company notes, however, is that a poorly implemented code can indirectly affect users via leaks of sensitive information. To that end, Apple, for example, no longer allows iOS apps to read your device's unique device number.
So should you be worried, especially with the rise of free apps as of late? Somewhat. The 'price' of a free app is that you become the product that ensures its existence via ads. As the aforementioned study found, most of us prefer to be subjected to annoying adverts rather than pay for content. Fortunately, both platforms have gone some distance in ensuring you're as informed as possible about what you're signing up for and exactly what you're disclosing to your apps in terms of private information.
2. cameogt (Posts: 88; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)
out of 500,000apps
iOS - 227,050 apps
Android - 172,750 apps
Snooping your contact list
iOS - 94,600 apps
Android - 38,450 apps
could leak your email to 3rd party
Android - 30,000 apps
has access to your mobile number
Android - 45,000 apps
access your Device ID
Android - 75,000 apps
these numbers are disturbing. :/
3. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 1320; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)
And on Android, Google is getting and keeping 100% of that data 100% of the time. It's not just the apps on the Play Store you need to worry about, it's Google itself.
4. Jack58221 (Posts: 136; Member since: 23 Feb 2013)
and since both Microsoft and Apple are working to create their own databases to compete with Google and Apple has higher %s on all of the ones they listed for both, you think Apple is clean. I bet Apple is grabbing twice as much info and not letting it go.
5. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 1320; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)
Apple's primary business is not, nor will it ever be, advertising. That alone comforts me. Apple was also not started with CIA money, which also comforts me. Apple doesn't have access to every one of my messages or phone conversations. Apple hasn't been busted and investigated all over the world for regularly misusing or collecting through less than ethical means the data of its customers, and never for collecting data of non-customers. Say what you will, but your equivalency falls far short.
6. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 867; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
That's being a little naive napalm. I guarantee your OS and phone carrier are collecting data on you. Apple's primary business is making money and customer data is a money maker. Don't believe me? Google it :)
8. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)
If you root your android device you can block access to private data,
7. roscuthiii (Posts: 1885; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
Uh... Can iOS apps not possibly leak your email to a 3rd party, have access to your phone number, or access to your device ID? Or are we not seeing a whole other set of numbers for comparison???