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Virginia Tech Researchers: Android Apps Can Conspire to Mine Information From Your Smartphone

By Virginia Tech News

April 3, 2017

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Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) say they have conducted the first-ever large-scale systematic study of how the trusty applications on Android phones are able to talk to one another and trade information.

The Virginia Tech researchers found these threats fall into two major categories--a malware app that launches a cyberattack, or apps that enable collusion and privilege escalation.

As part of the study, the researchers developed DIALDroid, a tool that performs inter-app security analysis. The researchers studied 110,150 apps over three years, including 100,206 of Google Play's most popular apps and 9,994 malware apps from Virus Share.

The team found the biggest security risks were some of the least utilitarian, such as those related to personalization of ringtones, widgets, and emojis.

The researchers were to present their findings at the ACM Asia Computer and Communications Security Conference (ASIACCS 2017) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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