Have An Android Phone? You Might Be at A Higher Risk of Data Tracking

image provided by pixabay

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

Android phones were exposed by experts as extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks, with almost 200,000 data tracking attempts made in just 30 days on a regular Android device.

Developers behind the /e/ open-source operating system set out to test the matter. They installed over 34 third-party apps, including LinkedIn, Spotify, Vinted, and Waze, on an Android phone. Within 30 days, they recorded close to 195,000 attempts to track the device.

Such gathered data can target users in many ways, from pushing tailored ads to shaping their social or political views through propaganda. In worse cases, sensitive information such as the location, race, age, or health condition of users that live in the US is sent to Russia or China, according to reports by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

According to Cybernews, a mobile phone user has an average of 80 apps installed, but only 30 of those are active. However, it has been proven that many apps are still “sucking data” – even when they are inactive.

Researchers recently conducted an experiment in order to discover the servers the phone would connect to after downloading the top 100 apps from the Google Play Store (including data like location and timing). They found that the Android device connected to a server every 37 seconds, with some connections being made in Russia or China.

While this occurrence is not completely uncommon, it is still a worrying privacy concern that mostly occurs without the user’s knowledge or permission.

Experts both from /e/OS and Cybernews conclude that it’s becoming harder and harder to escape this type of surveillance – “Even rejecting cookies, denying measurement insights, and limiting app installations, individuals still find themselves subject to relentless tracking, often without their explicit consent,” explains the creator of /e/, Gaël Duval.