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4 out 5 apps are scanning your location: McAfee

Digital News AsiaMay 27, 2014
  • 82% know the device ID, and 57% track when people use their phones
  • Offers free scan for mobile apps that overshare personal info

ACCORDING to McAfee’s Consumer Mobile Security Report, 80% of mobile apps today collect location information about users, 82% know the device ID, and 57% track when people use their phones.
 
Additionally, the apps that aggressively and often unnecessarily collect data leverage potentially dangerous ad libraries, and 35% of these apps contain malware, the company said in a statement.
 
“Smartphone users download apps so regularly that it is easy to forget how these apps collect information – at times even putting their users at risk,” said David Freer, Asia Pacific vice president of McAfee’s Consumer unit.
 
McAfee, part of Intel Security, has announced the latest version of McAfee Mobile Security that now enables consumers to instantly run free privacy and security scans. These scans allow users to identify apps that are oversharing personal information.
 
McAfee Mobile Security also scans for and removes malware and looks for other security threats, and makes it simple for users to perform these scans as soon as the product is installed.
 
The solution also allows users to easily remove apps that pose significant risks, the company said.
 
McAfee Mobile Security’s privacy scan provides key intelligence about the apps users have installed on a smartphone or tablet. The scan determines how much information each app is able to access and share, then ranks them by level of privacy sensitivity, while also checking for risky URL associations.
 
When an app behaves significantly different than others in its category, the level of risk is raised and reflected in its privacy sharing score. At the conclusion of the privacy scan, the user can uninstall suspicious apps with one click.
 
The most worrisome permissions are apps that read users’ subscriber ID from their smartphones and tablets, anything that gets users’ precise location (as opposed to WiFi network or cell tower), and anything that reads or tracks text messages that can contain private messages and information like online banking transaction authorizations.
 
To provide a deeper level of protection, the new version of McAfee Mobile Security instantly scans Android apps, files, SD cards and Internet downloads for malware using a method optimised for mobile to be light on resources and battery life.
 
McAfee Mobile Security can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.
 
Related Stories:
 
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We need to start defining acceptable mobile advertising
 
Android heading for 100% malware record
 
Fake antivirus invading app stores: Kaspersky
 
 
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