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218 Million US Smartphone Owners Access The Internet
Smartphones have become the ever-present gateway to the internet and it is no surprise that a whopping 218 million Americans access the internet through their smartphone. But this has its dangers, especially when it comes to privacy and sensitive data being leaked.
Prominent security company McAfee has conducted a study into smartphone use, and the permissions millions give to apps that are downloaded daily. The findings make for a very sobering read.
The biggest discovery made by McAfee is that Android apps ask for 33% more permissions that are needed. Adding to the complexity of the problem is the fact that only 83% of Android users paid attention to the permissions that were granted. What’s more, 42% of such users don’t know what the permissions are for and cannot say with any certainty that they’ve not surrendered access to very sensitive data.
The McAfee research gives a cursory glimpse into what is at stake. 18.3 million US adults for instance, have used their smartphone to access medical and health information; 32.5 million US adults rely on their smartphone to access critical banking information.
It should be clear therefore, that downloading an app is not a ‘set it and forget it’ type of thing. Many apps have serious security holes that leave users vulnerable to malware, spyware and phishing viruses.
Most app developers will try and ‘backdoor’ bit of code that allows apps to access the internet without your permission or your knowledge. The caveat here is check application permissions when you download apps. Not just on Android, but any mobile platform.