Your Smartphone Apps may Secretly Capturing your Phone Activity: StudyGadgets & Mobiles

July 11, 2018 17:22
Your Smartphone Apps may Secretly Capturing your Phone Activity: Study

(Image source from: Moneycontrol)

A study has found that some popular smartphone apps may be in secret taking screenshots of mobile user activities and directing them to third parties.

The information taken by the apps could reckon credentials, credit card numbers, and else crucial personal data, researchers said.

"We found that thousands of popular apps have the ability to record your screen and anything you type," said David Choffnes, a professor at Northeastern University in the United States.

"That includes your username and password because it can record the characters you type before they turn into those little black dots," said Choffnes.

The study was planned to look into a relentless urban legend that phones are secretly recording our conversations and then merchandising that information to companies so they can pepper a user with targeted advertisements.

The researchers further found that few establishments were sending screenshots and videos of user phone activities to third parties. These privacy breaches though seem to be malignant, they emphasized how easily a phone's privacy window could be made use of for profit.

"This opening will almost certainly be used for malicious purposes," said Christo Wilson, a professor at Northeastern. "It's simple to install and collect this information. And what's most disturbing is that this occurs with no notification to or permission by users," said Wilson.

"In the case we caught, the information sent to a third party was zip codes, but it could just as easily have been credit card numbers," he said.

The analyzed apps were over 17,000 popular by the researchers, in which 9,000 of those apps had the potential to take screenshots.

"In one case, the app took video of the screen activity and sent that information to a third party," said Wilson.

A fast-food delivery app GoPuff was one among app that sent screenshots to a data analytics firm for mobile devices Appsee, without consciousness of a user.

By Sowmya Sangam

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