"Google Play Protect scans over 50 billion apps every day across more than two billion devices", according to the Android Security & Privacy 2018 Year In Review report published in March 2019.
Risky cyber-threats loom over the 3.4 billion internet users around the world; security experts have started highlighting vulnerabilities in everyday devices that could expose users to the risk of malicious attacks and the unlawful collection of personal data.
These pre-installed apps, said the Open Letter, can have privileged custom permissions that let them operate outside the Android security model.
The study was carried out cooperatively by IMDEA Networks Institute, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Stony Brook University, and ICSI.
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"We, the undersigned, agree with you: privacy cannot be a luxury offered only to those people who can afford it". As a bonus, they utilize Youtube Ads on the site's videos to gain traffic and guide users towards the app, in the means to infect as many phones and computers as possible. These apps leave users vulnerable to their data being collected, shared and exposed without their knowledge or consent, the letter's signees said. Users are therefore completely in the dark about these serious intrusions.
The fact that 91 per cent of bloatware is not available on Google Play also means that the apps are often not compliant with many policies put in place that ensure Android users are safeguarded from malicious apps. As a result, these apps can request permissions "without triggering the standard Android security prompts". Firstly, that users should be allowed to fully delete any pre-installed app on their device. This should include any related background services that continue to run even if the apps are disabled. In addition, they have mentioned that preinstalled applications must have an update mechanism through Google Play without a user account, and Google will refuse to certify a device for privacy reasons when it finds that manufacturers or suppliers have tried to exploit users through bloatware.
As revealed by Google in the 2018 Google Play Store yearly review, they rejected 55% more Android apps than in 2017 and increased the app suspension rate by approximately 66% year-over-year.
We agree with Privacy International on this important consumer privacy issue, and we urge all our readers to sign the petition to force Google to sit up and take notice of these disturbing practices.
The failure of Google to moderate the pre-installed app ecosystem has opened it up to a wild-west of exploitation, putting users' privacy and security at risk. The Google reports also document when exactly Bread-infected apps made it into the system.