How private data-hungry are your apps?

How private data-hungry are your apps?
Ever heard of an app called Clueful? It's a privacy monitoring and advisory app from security firm BitDefender that aims to clarify which apps may be taking advantage of you by having an unnecessary peek at your private data.

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.

source: BitDefender

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8 Comments

1. darthinvader

Posts: 63; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

Edward Snowden would be so proud!! :P

2. cameogt

Posts: 88; Member since: Oct 18, 2012

out of 500,000apps Location tracking 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: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 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: 157; Member since: Feb 23, 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: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 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: 912; Member since: Jun 28, 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: May 29, 2013

If you root your android device you can block access to private data,

7. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 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???

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