Is Your Data Safe? New Study Finds Android Apps Share Data Without Permission

International Business Times

A new study published this week by researchers at Virginia Tech found thousands of popular Android apps are capable of colluding with one another to share user data and information without permission. The study, which was conducted by professors from the Department of Computer Science in Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, analyzed 100,206 apps from the Google Play Store and found 23,495 pairs of apps that communicated with one another to collect and share user data. This tactic of collusion, in which apps communicate with one another without the user's knowledge, allow some apps and services to bypass restricted permissions and gain access to information collected by other apps. "Researchers were aware that apps may talk to one another in some way, shape or form," Assistant Professor Gang Wang said in a statement. "What this study shows undeniably with real-world evidence over and over again is that app behavior, whether it is intentional or not, can pose a security breach depending on the kinds of apps you have on your phone."

Google gives Android Files Go a big speed upgrade: Share 100 photos in 5 seconds


Google's popular Android file-management system, Files Go, now offers faster file transfers, faster connections, and more secure file sharing. Google has released a "major upgrade" to the app's feature for sharing files with people nearby. Files Go was originally designed to help users in India deal with limited storage and patchy network coverage, but has since also been launched in China and is available globally with about 10 million users. The app leaked out in November and Google has been steadily updating it with new features, and testing them via a beta channel. The app offers a snapshot of available storage space, tools to free up space, and a peer-to-peer feature that lets users share files or apps with friends who are nearby without needing the internet.

Google: Expect Android Pie Go on new phones this fall with more storage space


Android Files Go gets a lot faster: Share 100 photos in 5 seconds. Android 9.0 Pie is so far only available for Pixel and the Essential PH1 phones, but the Go edition of Android Pie is also coming soon with improvements for ultra-cheap smartphones. Google has announced its Go edition of Android Pie, the follow-up on the first Oreo Go edition for phones with as little as 512MB of RAM. The first of these phones, including HMD's Nokia 1, went on sale earlier in April. Android Go is part of Google's effort to convince feature-phone owners to switch up to an Android smartphone and expand Google's mobile reach.

Facebook's app has been collecting Android phone data for years on some devices


Facebook's data collection capabilities apparently extend to tracking all the phone calls on Android devices. As the post-Cambridge Analytica scandal fallout continues to unfold, some Facebook users are downloading their data from the social media platform and uncovering a surprise: Detailed phone records, including dates, times, call lengths, call recipients, and phone numbers. SEE ALSO: To understand Facebook's betrayal, just look at my mom It's only happening with people who use Android devices, and only when certain data approvals are granted. For example: I switched to the Android ecosystem several years ago, but there's no record of calls in my own Facebook data download. That wasn't the case for Dylan McKay, a New Zealand-based programmer whose tweeted screenshot of Facebook's collected phone data went viral last week.