New Software Shows Users If Their Apps are Accessing Their Private Data
Computer scientists from the center for IT security and privacy (CISPA) in Saarbrücken, Germany, have developed a new software program that allows smartphone users to examine if their apps are accessing their personal data.
This monitoring software program also informs smartphone users what their apps are doing with their private information.
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"Imagine your address book is read out, and hundreds of lines of code later, without you noticing, your phone will send your contacts to an unknown website," said Erik Derr, a PhD student at the Graduate School for Computer Science at the Saarland University.
Derr is also a researcher at the Saarbrücken Research Center for IT Security at CISPA. He has developed a feature for the software system that shows which websites are accessing users' information including contact numbers and text messages.
The software program works by scanning an app's program codes. It will detect whether the information requested is related to the subsequent transmission.
"The app could be analyzed on our server, and the results would be displayed on your smartphone. Or ideally, the evaluation process could be integrated directly into the app store websites," Derr said.
According to information technology security software firm RisklQ, more than 40,000 of 350,000 money transaction apps monitored were found to be scams. About 11 percent of these apps had malicious functions.