Rating: Roughly 30 per cent of apps display ads, too
Ever wondered how many apps are downloading your private information without informing you? Pondered how great a risk there is of personal data leaks via apps? These questions have obviously bothered Bitdefender, the security specialist. For some reason, the company decided to look at the risk posed by iOS apps only. Which is curious because Bitdefender has an offering for Android but not for iOS at present. Anyway the company conducted a month-long study of more than 65,000 iPhone apps. Guess what? It found that most Apple iOS users are probably at risk from data leaks.For example, the study revealed 20 per cent of apps examined could access users’ address books, including phone numbers and addresses and 18.6 per cent could read all of information stored about your contacts.
So that means the app could disclose which of your female friends is nicknamed the ‘Shameless Hussy’ and which of you friends are kept in a group called ‘dumped lovers’. Oh dear.
GoMobile News wasn’t surprised to learn that 41.4 per cent of apps examined track the user’s location because location is the key advantage to running an app on a mobile device instead of a desktop computer.
However, it was very interesting to discover that 30.7 per cent of apps displayed an advert.
Unfortunately, Bitdefender didn’t say how many of the apps it examined were free. Perhaps it was the 30 per cent of apps that were free displaying all those ads?
We also thought that the number of apps which accessed the user’s Facebook pages – 16.4 per cent – was actually quite low. We’d have expected that figure to be higher.
Bitdefender claims that ‘only’ 57 per cent of apps encrypt the data they collect.
However, we’d say that was an impressive number, although by not protecting users’ private information, the remaining 43 per cent of apps can be said to leave people open to data breaches.
Of course, given that almost one in two apps could potentially leak personal data, we’d say that you would only need to load three apps to be at risk. So virtually every iPhone user is at risk, therefore.
Bitdefender says, “Many of these apps fail to inform users of the data collected, so consumers are putting themselves at unknown risk.”
The company also points out that currently there is no publicly accessible information for user education and awareness on these privacy concerns but it intends to change that. Goodie.