Android apps seem to be leaking out a little too much private information

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Applications for one of the world’s most popular mobile platforms is being too friendly with personal information. Eight percent of them are leaking data to other places. Some even send text messages without permission.

The upcoming Black Hat conference next month is going to be an eye-opener for those who like Android. A study was done of 10,000 apps ( applications ) by anti-malware provider Dasient. Of those 10,000, 800 were found leaking personal information. That equals out to eight percent being bad for people who are concerned about their personal information getting into the wrong hands. An additional 11 of the Android apps were sending out conceivably unwanted text messages. Some of those were “premium” text messages that cost one to two dollars each. They are paid for on a person’s cellular bill.

The live behavior of Android apps is usually under scrutiny by third parties, since they are not under an approval system from Google. The iPhone and iPad apps must be approved by a human in the Apple Apps store. This method does not get rid of all the mischief done by malicious programmers in the world, but it helps. The premium SMS messages that are being sent by rogue Android apps are similar to the 900 numbers scams of yesteryear. A rogue app can make the user pay for unwanted text messages over and over.

The upcoming talk at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas will cover problems like the ones discussed above. Mobile malware threats are not going to go away until someone actually makes them leave. Kaspersky Labs, a prominent figure in computer security, has already predicted that 2011 will bring an increased level of mobile malware threats. Ironically, one of the most popular things that people like to enjoy with their handset, social networking, also contains some of the biggest threats. Traffic was analyzed during a recent malware attack on Facebook and found that 24 percent of it was from mobile devices.

Neil Daswani, the CTO of security firm Dasient mentioned above, states that mobile malware has doubled in the last two years. Android is not the only target, just the most prominent. Some believe the problem on Android will not be fixed until Google takes action and starts preapproving apps from their market. Until then, the bad guys and girls will continue to be sneaking destructive software into the Android market without hindrance.

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