A recent study shows that thousands of iPhone applications are capable of stealing sensitive details and track locations. Furthermore, many of them fail to encrypt user data, exposing the unwitting consumer to all sorts of dangers.
It’s widely known that the Android app market is flooded with applications that steal data, send SMSs, track user location, and perform malicious operations without the device owner’s permission.
However, according to a Bitdefender study, when it comes to the pieces of software designed for iPhones, the situation is not much brighter.
The figures from the report show that of the 65,000 apps that have been analyzed, only around 57% actually encrypt the data before storing it.
It turns out that 41% of them are able to track the iPhone owner’s location. The percentage shows that there’s a large chance that most Apple customers have at least one application that utilizes the controversial geo-location feature.
The research also reveals that 18.6% of apps can access the contact details in the address book. As experts highlight, normally, a program should access the address book only to transfer contacts or to merge social media contact details.
It’s highly unlikely that such a large number of applications need access to the address book for the enumerated reasons. This means that many of them might be taking a peek at your contact list without your knowledge for all the wrong reasons.
“It is worrying stored data encryption on iOS apps is low and location tracking is so prevalent. Without notification of what an app accesses, it is difficult to control what information users give up,” said Catalin Cosoi, CSR at Bitdefender.
“We see a worrying landscape of poor user data encryption, prevalent location tracking and silent, unjustified, Address Book access.”
Unfortunately, as Georgia Weidman highlighted in a recent interview
, functionality will always come on top of security when it comes to mobile devices. Users rarely stop to analyze an app and its behavior before installing it, exposing themselves to all sorts of privacy risks.