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Android no match for My Little Pony

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Dialog, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. Dialog

    Dialog TRIBE Member

    Suspicious' Android wallpaper app nabs user data
    Up to 4 million downloads
    By John Leyden • Get more from this author

    Posted in Security, 29th July 2010 23:32 GMT
    Free whitepaper – PowerEdge M1000e, M600 and M605 spec sheet
    An Android wallpaper application that collected data from users' phones and uploaded it to a site in China was downloaded "millions of times", according to mobile security firm Lookout.

    Kevin MaHaffey, chief technology officer at Lookout, used Jackeey Wallpaper as an example of the wider risk faced by smartphone users during a presentation at the Black Hat security conference in Vegas on Wednesday.

    Jackeey Wallpaper was uploaded to the Android Market, offering wallpaper themed around Star Wars, My Little Pony, and other popular themes. But according to Lookout, the application also collects a device’s phone number, subscriber identifier, and the currently entered voicemail number. This data was then uploaded to a server in China.

    Though some press reports indicated the data was used or nefarious purposes, MaHaffey has now said in a blog post that Lookout cannot actually say that this is the case. "While this sort of data collection from a wallpaper application is certainly suspicious, there’s no evidence of malicious behavior," he writes. "There have been cases in the past on other mobile platforms where well-intentioned developers are simply over-zealous in their data gathering, without having malicious intent."

    Imprecise download records from the Android Market suggest the app was downloaded anywhere between 1 million to 4 million times. Lookout ran across Jackeey Wallpaper as potentially suspicious during its App Genome Project, which is attempting to analyse how smartphone applications behave. Around half (47 per cent) of Android apps access third-party code, a behaviour repeated by 23 per cent of iPhone, according to Lookout. Third-party apps perform functions such as serve ads, for example.

    John Hering, Lookout chief executive, said that Google and Apple were adequately policing their application stores. Nonetheless, problem apps may make it through screening, as the Jackeey Wallpaper incident demonstrates, and developers and end-users both need to be wary of potential problems, Lookout warns.

    “Even good apps can be modified to turn bad after a lot of people download it,” MaHaffey said, Mobile Venture Beat reports. “Users absolutely have to pay attention to what they download. And developers have to be responsible about the data that they collect and how they use it.” ®
  2. Eclectic

    Eclectic TRIBE Member

    Ahh...the joys of "open source".

    Not slamming Android itself...but I'm of the camp that some quality control is better than none.
  3. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    Google Returns Personal Data-Collecting Wallpaper App to Android Market

    After security company Lookout revealed 1 million people's personal details were at risk after downloading an Android wallpaper app, Google has done its own investigation and decided Jackeey Wallpaper wasn't actually causing any harm to users.

    The app has been returned to the Android Market, and while we knew last week that the app wasn't actually mining SMS and browsing history details, nor the voicemail password as first reported, it was still accessing the phone number, subscriber info and voicemail number for the user's phone.

    However, after looking into the situation, Google found that the information was only being accessed for richer preferences and helping Jackeey Wallpaper identify users and recommend other apps. That didn't stop the big G from suggesting they go about their business in another, safer, way, despite it being entirely possible to collect user information thanks to the way Android's download system works. Not to mention the fact that when users were downloading the apps, they were told that information was being collected on them.


    MRAH !


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