As you might know, Android is a very versatile mobile operating system, offering users thousands of apps that cover just about any domain. But the problem inherited by this massive amount of apps is the fact that the OS is vulnerable to Malware and Information Leaking. Apps request permissions that we usually ignore to read, and therefore we become victims of Information Leaking, such as our phonebook, personal information or even text messages. Also, the problem does not stop at Android OS. Apple’s iOS is also a victim to this type of personal information leakage, so, in short, no one is safe.
How can we protect ourselves?
Just by reading the permissions list that each app has, we can determine what sort of information it’s seeking and what will it be able to transmit later on. Also, Mobile Antivirus Apps are a good way to protect yourself, they can scan apps and let you know if one is requiring information that it shouldn’t. Others suggest that using Traffic Monitor apps that are available for both Android OS and iOS, we can see how much information is pushed out by each app, but this method has its flaws, as do the others. So, how do we protect our information?
The Solution: MobileScope
The solution to this problem comes in the name of MobileScope. A service that will allow you to track every bit of information leaving your smartphone. With its help you will be able to see just how much information about you is being requested by the developers and determine if a certain app is harmful to your privacy. Also, apart from seeing the information that your device sends, you will be able to control the flow of information and block apps that are potential leaks.
The MobileScope Service
MobileScope will not be an app in the true sense of the word, but more of a service that will run in the background, and filter the data sent by your device. A team led by Ashkan Soltani, renowned Security Expert and author of three major reports on Internet privacy, is working on our behalf.
They are trying to develop this service that will give full control for the information flow of our devices. Although such apps exist for jailbroken iPhones and rooted Android devices, for those who do not want void their warranty by using these methods, there is little to do. As Ashkan Soltani said in a interview carried out by Michael Kassner, from The TechRepublic:
“First off, most users probably do not realize their information is being transmitted to third parties — who they’ve never heard of or had a relationship with. Since there is little transparency on these platforms, it’s unlikely anyone would know. Second, these third parties often receive extremely sensitive information, such as your precise location information (latitude/longitude) and your device identifier, which is persistent for the life of your device and can often be tied to your actual identity. Most of the platforms do provide some notice that an application is accessing your location information. However, you still have no idea what third parties besides the app developer actually receive this information”
So, as you can see, a great amount of information is sent to third party developers, without users of the apps even knowing. This a worrying thought, but when the MobileScope service will be launched, at least some of our worries will disappear. When the app will be released, it will be available for most mobile platforms (Android OS, iOS and Windows Phone OS confirmed so far), so anyone can feel safe when using their smartphone or tablet.
When will the service be available?
At this point we are not sure when you will be able to enjoy this service, but at the moment the project is in beta testing, and if you are lucky, you will be able to test it out. All you have to do is visit the Sign-Up page and fill the form, you will be contacted by the team if you are one of the lucky few that get to try it.