Jailbreak Apps Seek Less Private Data Of Users Than App Store Apps

Privacy Invasion

Recently there was a Path scandal which revealed that Path uploaded your entire address book to its server. What a gross and blatant invasion of privacy?

This scandal has once again put user privacy at the forefront of mobile news.

The social network Path was caught secretly uploading entire address books from its users’ cell phones without their authorization. After the lid on this scandal was blown, a further research was prompted into other App Store apps. That included jailbreak apps as well. The aim of this further research was to see how many other developers were guilty of these actions. The conclusion of this research is found a bizarre result. Jailbreak apps actually leak much less private data than Apple-approved ones.

Forbes magazine reported:

“As the scandal swirled this past week over news that the iPhone app Path uploads users’ entire contact lists without permission, I came upon a study (PDF here) released last year by a group of researchers at the University of California at Santa barbara and the International Security Systems Lab that aimed to analyze how and where iPhone apps transmit users’ private data.

Not only did the researchers find that one in five of the free apps in Apple’s app store upload private data back to the apps’ creators that could potentially identify users and allow profiles to be built of their activities. They also discovered that programs in Cydia, the most popular platform for unauthorized apps that run only on “jailbroken” iPhones, tend to leak private data far less frequently than Apple’s approved apps.”

The group tested 1,351 free applications to of which 825 from Apple’s app store and 526 were from Cydia. It found that 21% of the App Store apps uploaded the user’s Unique Device Identifier (UDID), 4% uploaded the device’s location, and 0.5% uploaded the user’s contact list.

Contrary to that, out of the Cydia apps, only 4% leaked the user’s UDID, and only one app out of the 500+ tested leaked location or contact data. That app was MobileSpy — a utility designed to help users spy on devices.

Source: iDownload Blog

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