San Jose: That naive Flashlight App you set up on your device to throw light in certain circumstances is also keeping an eye on you, and potentially selling or employing your personal data. Android devices are mainly vulnerable.
Gary Miliefsky of cyber security firm says that all become victims after setting up many apps on smartphones and tablets that do something beyond the service they should provide. According to him, they have opened a Pandora’s Box to cyber criminals, online predators and spies – all through the apps which are trusted foolishly.
Lately an email has been making rounds, panicking people by claiming that the flashlight app on their smartphone is taking their information and sending it to China. This, certainly is not true, and for the iPhone’s existing flashlight, is obviously not true.
In case you don’t want to scroll down, you must note down that in spite of the fact that the news report showed lots of shock footage of iPhone and the iPhone flashlight, there is certainly no reason to panic if you have iPhone and you are employing the built-in iPhone flashlight. It is not spotting you.
So what’s this regarding?
This complete thing began as many uncontrolled things do, when Fox News made a report and brought someone from a security firm, to discuss about flashlight apps spying on their users.
He says that this is something bigger than Ebola as 500 million people are infected and they are unaware of it. But it’s not them but their smartphones. That’s frightening and you would consider Google and Apple would be on the case. Further he added that the top flashlight apps from the Google Play Store are all malware.
What’s actually around?
Previous year, the creator of the most popular flashlight app in the Google Play (Android) store was caught stealing people’s geo-location data and promoting it to advertisers, went under FTC examination, and was required to resolve the matter. It was certainly a gloomy day for privacy.
Due to this mess, the security company in the news report considered the permissions for the best 10 flashlight apps and concluded that as they require lots of permissions, they all must be malicious software. Nowhere in their report did they mention that these apps are malicious or sending your data anywhere, but they did make a table of the permissions that every flashlight app needed.
3 of the apps they illustrated in their report needed many permissions, including access to your site, which is certainly sketchy. But no less than four of the apps that are listed as malware solely have permission to access your flashlight, vibration and access to the Internet, but can’t access location or SMS or anything else.
The truth is that Android app permissions are messy and you have less control over what apps can do once you have decided to setup the app rather than simply believing Google. Your best bet is to keep away from setting up apps that have permissions that look doubtful. Always install apps from reputable companies.
But that does not imply that all flashlight apps are malicious. So why the hyperbole?
At the closing of the news segment when the anchor asked what you must do about flashlight apps, the security firm guy replied by saying:
Look for a flashlight app that’s below 100 kilobytes as the ones that keep watch on you, it notifies you about their file size, i.e. 1.2 MB to 5MB. Those are huge files to just turn the light on and off. So if you get a really small flashlight app, a privacy flashlight, you will be protected.
You cannot evaluate the security of an app by how huge it is, and is not liable for any security person to say that. Besides, some of the other flashlight apps are huge as they incorporate additional features, good interface, or advertisements. Those things all occupy more space.
A Privacy Flashlight, You Say?
If you watched that news section you might not have observed when he said “a privacy flashlight, “but that’s the undisclosed password to comprehend what’s actually going on here.
The security firm in the news report has a free flashlight app in the Google Play Store, and it’s called “Privacy Flashlight.” They too have Android security software that you can set up. And certainly, you can pay for more attributes.
There is nothing bad with their flashlight app, and we have not employed their other security software. And there is nothing bad in bringing alertness to the problems with Android permissions.
As already stated, the iPhone flashlight is NOT stealing your data, is not trailing you, and if you are an iPhone user, you must keep making use of it without being troubled.
The reality is that the built-in iPhone flashlight is part of iOS and part of your iPhone. Created by Apple, you don’t need to be anxious.
If you are employing a third-party flashlight app on your iPhone you still don’t have to worry, as iPhone has improved permissions system that tells you right away if an app is attempting to access your location or push notifications to you, or any number of other things.