It has been recently exposed that free smartphone apps are being used by companies to expose users’ personal text messages, intercept calls and even track their location. Smartphone security is now a big issue, the rarely read terms and conditions enable app vendors the ability to circumnavigate the legality’s of doing this. Smartphone security has now become big business for hardware manufacturers and software vendors.
Facebook insists that anyone using its Android smartphone app will have agreed to grant permission for the software app to read text messages, although Facebook have confirmed that they’ve not yet taken advantage of this yet. Social media sites Flickr and Yahoo! are also alleged to read text messages via their apps, while apps from smaller companies allow them to extract private details about users’ lives. They even have the ability to take images from users’ handset cameras and dial their phone and intercept calls without the user ever knowing.
The Facebook app has been downloaded more than 100million times on the Android platform, yet few of its users are aware they’ve agreed to Facebook having access to SMS messages stored on their phone.
App’s can also be used to gain information to a users web browsing history. These details are often sold on to advertisers and market research companies, exposing them to unwanted advertising and marketing campaigns.
If your phone is used to exchange sensitive business data, it’s recommended that you choose apps carefully before installing them, and read all T&C’s to ensure they avoid requests to access personal information.
With the number of mainstream apps now spying on consumer’s smartphones in a similar way to computer malware virus infections, the personal information we keep on ours phones is less secure than ever.