By Anu Passary | Oct 24, 2012 11:00 AM EDT
Android users may be at risk of exposing their personal information to third parties as thousands of Android-based apps fail to encrypt data in transit, indicates a recent research.
The research has been carried out by the University of Hannover and Philips University of Marburg, Germany. The research indicated that almost 8 percent of Android apps did not protect the user's bank account and social media logins.
"The failure of these apps, which were among the 13,500 most popular free apps on the Google Play Market, to encrypt user data leaves them open to so-called 'man-in-the-middle' (MITM) attacks," reported ITPro.
Many users would believe that if apps are downloaded from Google Play then they will be secure; however, it seems that all apps on Google Play are not safe to be downloaded.
The research was carried out using a custom created Wi-Fi hotspot and two MITM attackers named Eve, which passively monitors data in transit, and Mallory, which can tamper with communications. Eve and Mallory allowed researchers to capture login details for Android users, which included online bank accounts. Furthermore, researchers could also disable security programmes on Android devices and fool users by labeling secure apps as infected.
Another area of concern highlighted by the research was the lack of knowledge amongst users regarding secured and unsecured networks.
"Concerning connection security, we found that 47.5% of non-IT experts believed to be using a secure connection, while the survey was served over HTTP. On top of that, even 34.7% of participants with prior IT education thought that they were using a secure channel when they were not. In both groups, 22.4% were unsure about the protection of their connection. Only 58.9% of experts and 44.3% of non-experts correctly identified that they were using a secure or insecure connection when prompted," noted the research.
The research brings to light a user's vulnerability to Android apps which are increasing in number day after day.
With the growing demand of Android-powered smartphones new apps are being developed at an increased rate. Time will tell if smartphone manufacturers or Android develops an app, which will efficiently and effectively secure a user's personal information on a device.
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