Study analyzes pre-installed software on Android devices and its privacy risks for users

phys.org | 3/20/2019 | Staff
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Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the IMDEA Networks Institute, in collaboration with the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) at Berkeley (USA) and Stony Brook University of New York (USA), have carried out a study that encompasses 82,000 pre-installed apps in more than 1,700 devices manufactured by 214 brands, revealing the existence of a complex ecosystem of manufacturers, mobile operators, app developers and providers, with a wide network of relationships between them. This includes specialized organizations in user monitoring and tracking and in providing Internet advertising. Many of the pre-installed apps facilitate access to privileged data and resources, without the average user being aware of their presence or being able to uninstall them.

The study shows, on the one hand, that the permission model on the Android operating system and its apps allow a large number of actors to track and obtain personal user information. At the same time, it reveals that the end user is not aware of these actors in the Android terminals or of the implications that this practice could have on their privacy. Furthermore, the presence of this privileged software in the system makes it difficult to eliminate it if one is not an expert user.

Results - Article - April - Cybersecurity - Privacy

These results are detailed out in an article that will be made public on April 1 and which will be presented at one of the main cybersecurity and privacy conferences worldwide, the 41st IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, California (USA) under the title An Analysis of Pre-installed Android Software. The Agencia Española de Protección de Datos- AEPD (Spanish Data Protection Agency), which has contributed to the dissemination of this study because of the massive impact of the results on citizen privacy, will present the results before the European Commission for Data Protection.

In addition to the standard permissions defined in Android...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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