Every person these days has a smartphone with around 50 to 60 apps. Most of these apps request a lot of user information such as email id, address, phone number and what not. Although all of this is done after the user’s consent, one will be surprised to know how much data your apps can actually extract. Smartphones are so powerful, they can get your exact location or even worse, control your camera or microphone.
“We found that every app has the ability to record your screen and anything you type,” said David Choffnes, a Computer Science professor at Northeastern University. He supervised a study that reveals some apps on your phone may be secretly collecting your activity and sending them to third parties. The researchers at Northeastern University said this is particularly disturbing because these records of your activity on the screen—could include usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and other important personal information.
They further found that some companies were sending screenshots and videos of user smartphone activities to third parties. Although these breaches don’t seem to be malicious, it does highlight just how easily a user’s privacy can be exploited. And the most disturbing part of it all is how all this happens without the user being aware with no notification or permission requirement. “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,” Choffnes added.
There are also cases when apps have their own remote servers where they upload data. For example, any photo editing app. Any image that’s edited using the app is uploaded onto their cloud server. It could be a picture extremely intimate and personal or random, it’s all sent to them. These are the risks of technology and the internet. Although we cannot completely avoid the invasion of our cyber privacy, being a little careful and staying safe online would be a useful practice.