Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Apps for Android massively caught in secret from the user activity – N + 1

(Illustration Luigi Vigneri et al.)

Wigner Luigi (Luigi Vigneri) and his colleagues at Eurecom analyzed how often the application for Android from Google Play without the user surf the Internet, to provide information about his tastes and the location of advertising sites. With preprint related work can be found at

Group Wigner downloaded more than 2000 free applications from all 25 categories available on Google Play. Test machine performed smartphone Samsung Galaxy SIII on Android 4.1.2. The smartphone has been set up so that all traffic to the server has gone through the research group. Himself smartphone connected to your computer. With the help of a special program to simulate the active work with the applications (10 000 acts with an interval of about 50 seconds in between). Traffic was analyzed for 24 hours of work.

It was found that during this time the system was visited 250,000 pages in more than 2,000 sites. Most programs try to connect to a relatively small number of advertising sites and sites that track a user’s location, but some applications have been significantly more active average. Thus, the application Music Volume Eq, theoretically designed to only adjust the volume that does not require connection to the Internet, managed to turn to the 2000 external address of the page advertising. Such a particularly active applications was approximately 10% of the total – each one of them turned to more than 500 addresses.

Less than were active applications that track a user’s location – 70% of them did not apply to external addresses. However, the remaining 30% are sometimes addressed directly to many sites and a third of that number 800 was connected to tracking the web pages. The record in this sense belonged application Eurosport Player, refer to the 810 such sites. A small number of applications has tried to connect to the sites associated with malware.

Wigner also notes that four of the 10 most active developers of applications have been created which have the status of Google Play Top Developer, which gives itself Google.

Currently, a number of alternatives to the usual Android, which are not tied to the Google Play. For example firmware usual Android, known as CyanogenMod, already has 50 million users. However, in the future the situation may change for CyanogenMod, because according emerged in early 2015. According to Microsoft, took part in one of the rounds of investment ($ 70 million) in this project.


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