Truth: The Free Android Apps Connect to User Tracking and Ad Sites
Truth about our everyday free android apps has been unveiled. According to a latest research, the free android apps or ad-supported apps connect to thousands of user tracking and ad sites without the owner knowing.
There are two kinds of app stores from which the users can download their desired apps. First being the Apple App Store which filters each app carefully before it appears in front of the user for downloading. It makes it impossible for the malicious user tracking and ad sites to appear in the Apple App Store.
Second is the Google Play Store which is a little lighter on the filtration process and only discards the obvious apps that contain malicious software. Luigi Vigneri, head of the research team, said in a brief synopsis of the study:
In our work, we first develop a lightweight characterization methodology that can automatically extract descriptions of application network behavior, and apply this to a large selection of applications from the Google App Store. We find several instances of overly aggressive communication with tracking websites, of excessive communication with ad related sites, and of communication with sites previously associated with malware activity.
According to Vigneri and her associates, nearly 2,000 apps on the Google Play Store connected to 250,000 sites spotted across 2,000 domains, which is a huge number and puts user interface at risk. One app in specific reached out to nearly 2,000 sites.
‘Music Volume EQ’ which had absolutely no reason to connect to external URLs, basically used for adjusting volume of device, connected to the most user tracking and ad sites.
With this application, our goal is to provide a mechanism for end users to be aware of the network activity of their installed Android applications.
The French researchers have manufactured their own app that allegedly protects the users and informs them about the activities going on, within their Android phones called ‘NoSuchApp’ or ‘NSA’.