Your Web News in One Place

Help Webnuz

Referal links:

Sign up for GreenGeeks web hosting
October 13, 2021 01:25 am

Study Reveals Android Phones Constantly Snoop On Their Users

A new study (PDF) by a team of university researchers in the UK has unveiled a host of privacy issues that arise from using Android smartphones. BleepingComputer reports: The researchers have focused on Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, and Huawei Android devices, and LineageOS and /e/OS, two forks of Android that aim to offer long-term support and a de-Googled experience. The conclusion of the study is worrying for the vast majority of Android users: "With the notable exception of /e/OS, even when minimally configured and the handset is idle these vendor-customized Android variants transmit substantial amounts of information to the OS developer and also to third parties (Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) that have pre-installed system apps." As the summary table indicates, sensitive user data like persistent identifiers, app usage details, and telemetry information are not only shared with the device vendors, but also go to various third parties, such as Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Facebook. And to make matters worse, Google appears at the receiving end of all collected data almost across the entire table. It is important to note that this concerns the collection of data for which there's no option to opt-out, so Android users are powerless against this type of telemetry. This is particularly concerning when smartphone vendors include third-party apps that are silently collecting data even if they're not used by the device owner, and which cannot be uninstalled. For some of the built-in system apps like miui.analytics (Xiaomi), Heytap (Realme), and Hicloud (Huawei), the researchers found that the encrypted data can sometimes be decoded, putting the data at risk to man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. As the study points out, even if the user resets the advertising identifiers for their Google Account on Android, the data-collection system can trivially re-link the new ID back to the same device and append it to the original tracking history. The deanonymization of users takes place using various methods, such as looking at the SIM, IMEI, location data history, IP address, network SSID, or a combination of these. In response to the report, a Google spokesperson said: "While we appreciate the work of the researchers, we disagree that this behavior is unexpected -- this is how modern smartphones work. As explained in our Google Play Services Help Center article, this data is essential for core device services such as push notifications and software updates across a diverse ecosystem of devices and software builds. For example, Google Play services uses data on certified Android devices to support core device features. Collection of limited basic information, such as a device's IMEI, is necessary to deliver critical updates reliably across Android devices and apps."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Original Link: http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/UlgENwv31RM/study-reveals-android-phones-constantly-snoop-on-their-users

Share this article:    Share on Facebook
View Full Article

Slashdot

Slashdot was originally created in September of 1997 by Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda. Today it is owned by Geeknet, Inc..

More About this Source Visit Slashdot