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  • Queenie Siah

Unwanted permissions in apps?

There have been many instances, when we first download an app, various permissions start popping up. Be it for contact list, photo gallery, there seem to be many more. This has made many users paranoid, as to why all these permissions are needed, especially some that seem to have no direct relevance.

Apps need access to specified content on your phone to fulfil their functionality, but several are likely unnecessary. Most people treat permissions like a “Terms and conditions” agreement, they tend to accept them without reading through the list.

Almost all mobile apps transmit and receive data between phones and remote servers. It has never been more crucial to understand the risks involved in giving mobile apps indiscriminate access to your data and device tools. Apps often have permission to save files and some of which are even retained after the apps are uninstalled. For instance, “A game app that you uninstalled could have retained images in your phone gallery. Another app that also has access to your gallery can now access those images.” It adds. To make money out of apps, app developers often integrate third-party libraries that allow these external entities to push ads and other content on their apps.

Bryce Boland, chief technology officer, Asia-Pacific, at cyber security firm FireEye, mentioned that users play a huge role as well. We have the duty to read through the list of permissions, before giving access to the apps. “If people ditch apps that ask for a lot of permissions in favour of those that don’t, app developers will be pushed to design apps in a way that they don’t ask for unrequired permissions,” says Boland.

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