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Android and iOS apps could be leaking personal data

14 Jun 2021 Developer News
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Dozens of apps are installed on phones, tablets, and even smartwatches. Not only do apps save time but also they’re convenient. It’s not hard to understand the motivation behind downloading new apps. Thanks to modern technological advancements, you can do almost anything on the go. There’s one problem, though. Mobile apps collect personal data such as location, contacts, email, and so on. A fitness app, for instance, will want to know your location to work adequately. The question now is: Just how much personal information are your apps gathering?

More often than not, sensitive information is shared and device permissions are enabled with your consent. Google's Android and Apple's iOS systems ask for your permission to access data, which is necessary for one function or the other. Just because an app requests personal data, it doesn't mean that it's up to no good. It may have a perfectly good reason for doing so. For example, the app will need your email address to contact you in case someone tries to log into your account. As you can imagine, the data collection process can pose some risks. Security breaches are commonplace and, chances are that you'll find out too late if your personal data has been accessed.

Insecure configurations about data stored make apps vulnerable to leaks

You're convinced that the app developer goes the extra mile to protect your privacy. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Google and Apple have made great efforts to make their mobile platforms as secure as possible, but it seems that their efforts haven't met with success. There's a major problem as far as mobile apps hosted in the cloud are concerned. According to a study published not that long ago, approximately 15% of mobile apps are leaking data due to misconfigured cloud services. To put it simply, developers failed to implement adequate security settings. Network credentials, system configuration files, and server architecture keys have been exposed.

We don’t know for sure what apps have been found in this highly insecure state. The only thing we can say for sure is that they belong to the business category. If you don’t know exactly what apps are causing trouble, it’s hard to protect yourself. The best line of defense is to practice good online safety, such as changing your passwords regularly and things like that. Most importantly, you must pay close attention to permissions because your mobile device can access more data, and there’s a risk that the data will be leaked. Give restricted permissions – in other words, only what the mobile app really needs. If you want to be on the safe side, you can use a VPN that encrypts the data that passes through it.

If you fall victim to a data breach, you may be able to sue

Successful data breaches can have disastrous consequences for the company and customers alike. Even if many cyber threats can be traced back to phishing attempts, poorly secured data, and vulnerable servers, the truth is that malicious actors attack through applications that organizations use to provide services to their customers. There’s absolutely no way to prevent becoming the victim of a data breach, but there are steps you can take if your personal information has been leaked. More exactly, you can complain and claim compensation. If you’re looking to pursue legal action, you can find a great many useful guides on websites such as You’ll find answers to your most important questions.

If you’ve suffered damage, whether damage or non-damage, because an organization has breached the data protection law, you have a right to claim compensation. Several elements are taken into account when determining how much compensation the plaintiff should receive, such as the seriousness of the infringement and the impact on the person. A successful defense depends on the business’s ability to prove that it implemented and maintained the necessary security procedures and practices. An ever-increasing number of countries are regulating the use and unauthorized disclosure of personal data. Brazil, for example, approved legislation that is similar to the GDPR when it comes down to breach notifications requirements.

How can developers prevent data loss in apps?

In the era of technology-driven innovation, more mobile apps are being developed. Cyber thieves can easily access these apps and steal invaluable information. Is there something that app developers can do about it? The answer is yes. Data loss can be prevented, particularly during the development stage. If you happen to be a developer and you’re thinking about breaking into the Android or iOS market, it’s essential to become acquainted with the many ways you can prevent data leakage in your app. Here are some tips and considerations to make.

  • Encrypt local app data – The data saved on the device could be accessed by other apps. If any one of those apps turns out to be malicious, user safety is compromised. Encryption keys can prevent data leakage. Once the data is encrypted, it can’t be decoded unless cryptographic techniques are used.  Plus, this increases the speed and performance of the app.
  • Pay attention to application logs - Application logs allow you to assess the working of the algorithms behind the data process and identify more desirable outcomes. Nonetheless, the app may contain sensitive info, such as passwords and tokens, which is why app logs should be avoided during the development process.
  • Go with the latest development guidelines – Strict guidelines have been recently implemented to make sure that apps that go in the store are spam-free. Keeping up to date with the guidelines will go a long way in making a good impression. And preventing data leakage. Start with installing an SSL certificate. 

All in all, every organization developing custom software should take precautions so as to prevent data breaches. It’s important to safeguard less obvious elements that take part in data processing. The company developing the app is responsible for looking into security issues and ensuring users a protected, advantageous environment. This means doing everything possible to minimize data leaks.

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