Pre-Installed Android Apps Are Putting Your Privacy At Risk

One of the major advantages of buying an Android device today is that most of the necessary apps and services already come as a part of phone itself. People are enjoying this hassle-free culture in the smartphone world but what they don’t know is that while they are happy to use the pre-installed Android apps, there is a huge privacy and security risk associated with all built-in apps.

A recent analysis by IMDEA Networks Institute, Universidad Carlos II de Madrid, Stony Brooks University and ICSI has proved that companies who provide their own version of the open-source Android operating system are actually using the platform to push products into their smartphones that collect user’s data efficiently.

The research was done on more than 200 device manufacturers, 1,700 devices, and 82,000 pre-installed apps. Although the study doesn't highlight the fact that whether these companies are misusing the assets intentionally for privacy breach or is it due to the poor software engineering practices, it still is a massive threat hanging above the head of Android users as third-parties continue to grab your precious data through the software.

Further claims also state that Android fans are being manipulated by private data-sharing relationships and partnerships that exist between the various companies, who make the decision of what should come pre-installed on their phones. These users are being monitored by stakeholders that no one knows.
"Some device vendors have recently come under scrutiny for potentially invasive private data collection practices and other potentially harmful or unwanted behavior of the preinstalled apps on their devices.", explained the study. Adding further, "Yet, the landscape of preinstalled software in Android has largely remained unexplored, particularly in terms of the security and privacy implications of such customizations."
When Google was approached for an answer to this, the company in return raised questions on the report’s methodology and told that they work closely with their partners to protect the software from any kind of violation in policies.

But unfortunately, considering the scope of this security risk, it is just not enough. These researchers have also suggested a reasonable solution which includes “globally-trusted” regulatory body, that should sign the certificates and all the documentations related to the pre-installed apps.
"Overall, the supply chain around Android’s open source model lacks transparency and has facilitated potentially harmful behaviors and backdoored access to sensitive data and services without user consent or awareness.", claimed the study.
It is pretty much understandable that Google is already struggling with Android licensing and may be they don’t want to play the role of a regulatory body, but something has to be done before the situation gets worst.

Android users’ security and privacy at risk from shadowy ecosystem of pre-installed software and apps, a new study reveals

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