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  1. raino's Avatar
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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  

    Default Free Android apps a security concern

    NBC news

    I'll be buying a Nexus 10 and an Android phone soon. Please tell me it's possible to deny app permissions...

    Former BB users who've messed around with app permissions on BB: how easy/difficult is it to manage them on Android?
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  2. papped's Avatar
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    #2  

    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    Root + lbe privacy guard.

    Without root, gluck....
  3. raino's Avatar
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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #3  

    Default Free Android apps a security concern

    So you're saying it's not natively (i.e. on the OS level, without rooting) possible to control app permissions?
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  4. omniusovermind's Avatar
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    #4  

    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    that is correct. your only policing options for unrooted Android is to choose whether or not to install an app. This problem isn't just Android, so this is probably a case of the author crushing on another platform and wearing his/her blinders
    Carrier controlled updates is the worst smartphone spec of them all
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    raino (11-06-2012) 
  5. raino's Avatar
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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #5  

    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    If I don't want to root, what are my options? Am I SOL?
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  6. papped's Avatar
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    #6  

    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    Carefully monitor the permissions on the apps you install. You will likely have to avoid a lot of apps too. Even big name, trusted apps like Pandora ask for a lot more permissions than they really need.
  7. raino's Avatar
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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #7  

    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    That's exactly my question! Is it possible to deny/accept/tweak permissions in a non-rooted phone, without having to install an app to do this? Is there a set of settings like the ones (for each app, preferably) in my screenshot?

    Free Android apps a security concern-capture10_26_53.jpg
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  8. omniusovermind's Avatar
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    #8  

    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    You're SOL. Your options on unrooted are the answers already given
    Carrier controlled updates is the worst smartphone spec of them all
    Nexus 4
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    raino (11-07-2012) 
  9. raino's Avatar
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    Thread AuthorThread Author   #9  

    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    Thanks for your replies. This is not good
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    #10  

    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    It is not really any different than Blackberry, Any app on my 9800 that I tried to restrict permissions on failed to run. I would have to allow all it requested or decide not to use the app.
  11. raino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    Right...at least you get to make that choice. I was wondering if it was possible to do the same at an OS level in Android (without an app controlling apps). And according to the posts here--no.
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  12. papped's Avatar
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    #12  

    Default Re: Free Android apps a security concern

    Quote Originally Posted by pillswoj View Post
    It is not really any different than Blackberry, Any app on my 9800 that I tried to restrict permissions on failed to run. I would have to allow all it requested or decide not to use the app.
    It is fairly different. Not every permission requested is actually required for the app to function. If this was the case stuff like LBE/Pdroid would be pointless. There are many apps on BB where you can restrict certain permissions and have them still run. It depends on the app and how it's built.
  13. Rickroller's Avatar
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    #13  

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by raino View Post
    NBC news

    I'll be buying a Nexus 10 and an Android phone soon. Please tell me it's possible to deny app permissions...

    Former BB users who've messed around with app permissions on BB: how easy/difficult is it to manage them on Android?
    From Juniper in regards to their article:
    Upon Further Review



    Our research also led to some unexpected insights as to the legitimate use of permissions. We examined cases where permissions or data collection was justified even though the reasons were not immediately obvious. We did this by installing apps to fully understand their functionality, as well as contacting several developers.


    •There were a number of Cards and Casino apps from a specific developer that had the ability to use the device camera functionality. In reading the app descriptions and installing the application, there did not appear to be any reason for this capability. We contacted the developer who explained that with the premium version of the app, an icon would appear in the Tool Bar to enable the user to take a picture to use as a background for the game. This is a legitimate logical use that was not clearly communicated upfront for a consumer to understand or appreciate.


    •During our initial analysis of outgoing call permissions, it seemed concerning that 12.51 percent of free Finance apps had the ability to initiate a phone call without going through the dialer interface and that 63.19 percent didn’t provide a description of this capability within the app. However, after installing a number of these applications, it became clear that this capability was legitimately used by users to contact local financial institutions.
    TL;DR: In hindsight, a lot of apps that seemed like they didn't need those permissions, did in fact, need them legitimately

    Bottom line is, free or not, be careful of what you download. Stick to the popular apps and read reviews. I've been using Android for over 2 years, rooted and customized, and have NEVER had any issues with ANY app. I use my phone for banking, keep passwords on it, and CC info. Google has never stolen from me, there have never been any suspicious vans following me around, nor has my identity (which I never try to hide) ever been stolen. Keep in mind, most of these "articles" come from tech companies wanting you to buy their "protection". Be smart, and you won't have any problems.
    "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all." -Sam Ewing
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    pantlesspenguin (11-14-2012) 
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    #14  

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickroller View Post
    From Juniper in regards to their article:


    TL;DR: In hindsight, a lot of apps that seemed like they didn't need those permissions, did in fact, need them legitimately

    Bottom line is, free or not, be careful of what you download. Stick to the popular apps and read reviews. I've been using Android for over 2 years, rooted and customized, and have NEVER had any issues with ANY app. I use my phone for banking, keep passwords on it, and CC info. Google has never stolen from me, there have never been any suspicious vans following me around, nor has my identity (which I never try to hide) ever been stolen. Keep in mind, most of these "articles" come from tech companies wanting you to buy their "protection". Be smart, and you won't have any problems.
    I can't thank this enough, especially about apps needing permissions that aren't immediately obvious. For example, someone asked why imo.im, and IM client, needed GPS permissions. Seems kinda sketchy at first, right? Well, on imo.im you can send your location to your contacts just like you can on BBM. Or apps that request access to your memory card data. Some apps leave a cache on the card to make for faster loading times and to store data you've entered within the app.

    I think Android has just received a bad rap due to misinformation and partial truths spiraling out of control here. People WANT TO BELIEVE that Android is stealing your personal info, selling it to third parties, etc. It's just not the case.
    Everyone, everyone, stop fighting! Look unto me! I possess the blue flag! I wield the power infinite! The universal fabric is mine to unravel! My every thought becomes reality! Mountains will fall! Seas will boil! Day will be at night! People will...run...chicks'll dig me!
  15. DenverRalphy's Avatar
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    #15  

    Default

    If you're buying devices with JellyBean 4.2, then you also get this new feature on your device...

    Google Details App Verification Feature in Android 4.2
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    raino (11-15-2012) 
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  16. raino's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DenverRalphy View Post
    If you're buying devices with JellyBean 4.2, then you also get this new feature on your device...

    Google Details App Verification Feature in Android 4.2
    Definitely a step in the right direction. And it seems to scan permissions pertaining to personal information. But how would it "know" and protect the user against a legit (functional, non-malware) app that's just asking for too many permissions? (regardless of the reason--innocent oversight or negative)

    BBs have this problem too--apps asking for unncessary permissions. The best way for any platform to address this is to have devs spell out what permissions they're asking for, and why. But it's probably not a very realistic expectation.
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  17. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
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    #17  

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by raino View Post
    BBs have this problem too--apps asking for unncessary permissions. The best way for any platform to address this is to have devs spell out what permissions they're asking for, and why. But it's probably not a very realistic expectation.
    You know...you actually might be onto something there. How many times does someone look at the permissions for a device and see something that they think is unneccesary, but actually has a legitimate use? Then they search for something else. If only the developer had put a little blurb next to the permissions the user may have been more understanding and downloaded that particular app. Just a few extra steps might equal lots of extra revenue for the developer.
    Everyone, everyone, stop fighting! Look unto me! I possess the blue flag! I wield the power infinite! The universal fabric is mine to unravel! My every thought becomes reality! Mountains will fall! Seas will boil! Day will be at night! People will...run...chicks'll dig me!

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