According to a recent study, 72 percent of all Android applications in the Google Play Store request access to at least one extraneous permission that it doesn’t inherently need to function properly. This number may seem alarming, but let’s break down some of the research firm’s so-called “results.”
According to the published findings:
- 72 percent of all Android apps (more than 290,000) access at least one high-risk permission.
- 21 percent (more than 86,000) access five or more.
- 2 percent (more than 8,000) access 10 or more permissions flagged as potentially dangerous.
“We determined the risk level by relating the degree of privacy intrusion or the capability of the permission (e.g., ability to wipe devices or change systems settings). Risk levels, however, do not attribute malicious activity to the identified apps, but allude to the capability of the app to do damage if compromised. Many apps also ask for permissions that are not essential to their advertised functions.
Another concern is the significant level of variant apps in relation to popular “known” titles. For example, of the 115 apps that contain the words “Angry” and “Birds” in the title, only four are from Rovio Mobile (the official publisher of the Angry Birds app). Among them, “Angry Birds Live Wallpaper” requests twice as many permissions as the original Angry Birds game app, including fine-grained GPS location tracking.”