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Moreover, many of the pre-installed apps on Android are laced with malware, which represents a potential security threat to the user.The research paper, prepared by a team of academics at IMDEA Networks Institute, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Stony Brook University, and the ICSI at Berkeley, provides a comprehensive survey of more than 82,000 apps found on 1,742 devices from 214 different brands.One problem, say the researchers, is that many devices include of lot of “bloatware” that cannot be un-installed or removed by the user.
And each device manufacturer works with a complex network of vendors and partners, so it is unclear whether regulators would choose to go after Google (and its Android OS), or whether they would choose to go after some of the more aggressive developers of pre-installed apps on Android phones.
The researchers specifically mentioned that the current ecosystem represents a “peril” to user privacy and security, so clearly something needs to be done sooner rather than later to protect Android phone users.
Today, video traffic starts to dominate the Internet mobile data traffic.
In this work, focusing on Internet streaming accesses, we set to analyze and compare the performance when Android and i OS devices are accessing Internet streaming services.
What makes things difficult for regulators, though, is the fact that Android is an open source OS.
Each of the 214 brands studied by the researchers, presumably, are using a slightly different version of Android.Tech consumers who purchase brand-new Android smartphones may have absolutely no idea that these devices are fully equipped to start tracking and monitoring them as soon as they are switched on for the first time.According to a new research paper (“An Analysis of Pre-Installed Android Software”) that will be presented at an upcoming May 2019 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, the pre-installed apps on Android phones can be for data harvesting, tracking and monitoring, all without the knowledge of the user.While some privileges are required in order for apps to run smoothly and to deliver a consistent experience for Android users, the research paper makes clear that there has been a systemic abuse of these privileges.For example, the team of security researchers found that some apps came with pre-installed malware (and even entire libraries of malware), and some specifically designed “back doors” to the phone that theoretically made it possible for some app developers to gain access to features like storage on the phone, or to leak personally identifiable information to third-party data brokers.In general, SDKs are very popular within the mobile developer world, because they make it possible to build apps much more quickly than if the developer had to “reinvent the wheel.” So the issue, say the researchers, is not that they found these third-party libraries within Android apps.The issue is that so many of these libraries seem to be related to advertising and user tracking.This data can include sensitive geo-location data, as well as personally identifiable information based on access to email or phone address books on the Android device.One particular privacy issue pointed out by the researcher was the prevalent use of third-party libraries (also known as Software Development Kits, or SDKs) within the pre-installed apps on Android phones.In addition to being presented at a long press conference at the IEEE Symposium, the paper will also be presented to working subgroups of the European Commission for Data Protection (ECDP), as well as other European data protection authorities.Given the momentum behind the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it is quite conceivable that the findings of the paper could eventually be used as evidence in cases against specific device manufacturers or app developers.