Android accused of breaching user privacy

Millions of people who use Android apps may be misled into divulging personal details according to new research.

Scientists conducted tests on 13, 500 Android applications and found almost 8 per cent of them failed to protect private details such as bank account and social media logins.

By creating an imitation Wi-Fi hotspot, researchers from the University of Leibniz in Hanover were able to develop an attack device which allowed them to perform a number of security breaches such as capturing login details or bank accounts, email facilities and social media sites, disable security programmes and use computer code to manipulate programs making them insecure.

“About half of the participants could not judge the security state of a browser session correctly,” researchers told the BBC.

“Most importantly, research is needed to study which counter-measures offer the right combination of usability for developers and users, security benefits and economic incentives to be deployed on a large scale.”

Some of the apps tested in this project have been downloaded millions of times by Android users and the follow up survey shows that many people may have difficulty knowing when they are at risk.

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