Checking Permissions Before Installing Android Apps is Always a Good Idea
mobilesecurity.com [San Francisco, CA] When a celebrity releases an app, it might be reasonable for them to expect to become a target for cybercriminals. So when they actively encourage others to mess with their code, you know it won’t be long before something makes the news. It’s almost as though being in the public eye isn’t enough for them, they’re setting themselves up intentionally to create a little extra PR. Of course here at mobilesecurity.com we’re not nearly so cynical.
Barely a day goes by without a celebrity twitter account getting hacked (Justin Bieber – you are not alone), fake photos of naked pop stars turning up on a gossip site, or perhaps genuine sex videos of celebrities appear on video-sharing sites, posted by a jealous and angry ex-boyfriend. However, the latest celeb-related hacking news doesn’t involve social media or dodgy photos and videos – it’s the news that Bjork’s app Biophilia has now been ported to Android OS, but with a catch.
When Bjork released her music-sharing and rating app for iTunes, there was a minor grumble from the masses, pointing out that these days it’s considered de rigueur for apps to be released on Android and iOS concurrently – or at least to have a plan in place for offering your app to users of both major mobile operating systems. Bjork’s response to questions was to set a challenge for ‘pirates’ to create their own Android edition.
Android developers duly obliged – but rather than simply write an app that mirrored the features and functions of Bjork’s iTunes app, they added functionality that gave access to parts of the phone you weren’t expecting. So whilst it might seem we’re going over old ground here at mobilesecurity.com, it would be remiss of us not to remind you that apps require permissions. But more importantly, they require you to agree to those permissions.
If you’re installing a golf game that wants access to your contacts or to know the status of your phone - think twice. If you’re installing an app from a celebrity that has several versions in your app market, then you might want to check who the genuine developer of the app is.