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Friday, July 20, 2012

One-Fifth Of Your Apps Are Snatching Your Contact Data

One-Fifth Of Your Apps Are Snatching Your Contact Data

Right now, a decent majority of your iPhone apps have already accessed your personal data without ever asking for your consent.

Antivirus company Bitdefender looked at over 65,000 apps that are currently available in the App Store. From that analysis, they found that an alarming 18.6% of them can access your address book without you ever knowing about it.

Even more, 41% can track your location data without obtaining your consent

And once they have all of this personal data, much of it is easily accessible. That’s because only 57.5% of the apps they looked at actually encrypt your data.

“It is worrying stored data encryption on iOS apps is low and location tracking is so prevalent. Without notification of what an app accesses, it is difficult to control what information users give up,” said Catalin Cosoi of Bitdenfender.

Worrying, indeed.

Of course, these figures remind us all of the Path fiasco that occurred earlier this year. It was discovered that the app was uploading the entire contents of a users’ address book to Path’s servers without notification of consent. The company later apologized, saying “We made a mistake…we believe you should have control when it comes to sharing your personal information.”

And with that, the next version of the Path app prompted users to opt-in to sharing your contacts with Path’s servers.

Following this, Apple decided to make iOS 6 a bit more secure when it comes to sharing data. In Apple’s new OS, users will automatically be asked for permission when any app attempts to access address book data, location data, etc.

But until iOS 6 is released this fall, iOS users at least know that 1/5 of your apps are grabbing your contact data – so beware.