For all too many of us, our phones can be our lives. Whether we are on social media, games, or even at work, smartphones provide a clear window into multitudes of personal information. But is this private information making its way into the hands of some malicious spyware?
Researchers at Northeastern University did some investigating. In the 17,260 Android apps that they looked into, they did find results of “snooping” – but in a different way than speculated, USA Today reported.
The research indicated that phones are not turning on microphones or activating cameras on their on – which is good news. So, this dismisses the speculation and theories that our phones are constantly recording us.
But on some of the apps, however, researchers found that they “sent screenshots and recordings of what users did on the app screen to third parties, presumably to sell that information to marketers or data brokers,” USA Today said.
In their research paper, they highlight the concerning findings.
“It’s known as ‘full-session replay technology’ and basically allows whoever is getting the file to see everything you did on the app, whether it was playing a game, typing in your address, your shoe size or your credit card number,” USA Today explained.
One app on Android – called GoPuff – was caught secretly recording screenshots on their users’ phones. This delivery service app then sent the information over to a mobile analytics firm, according to Daily Mail.
Even though the research was only conducted on Android phones, it wouldn’t be surprising if iPhones were doing something similar. Again, there is no evidence that our phones are spying and recording us at will, but it’s still troubling that some apps are sending personal information elsewhere behind the scenes.
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