Apple deletes over 250 data-mining apps from App Store

20 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple bans apps collecting personal data after discovering Chinese marketing firm routes data back to its company servers.

A Chinese mobile-advertising company has apologized for disseminating code that allowed hundreds of applications for Apple Inc.’s iOS mobile system to access users’ personal data, in violation of Apple’s App Store policy: The advertising company, closely held Guangzhou Youmi Mobile Technology Co., said in a statement posted Tuesday on its website that it offered “sincere apologies” after Apple said it had removed offerings from the App Store that were found to be collecting and extracting email addresses, device identification and other private information. Researchers with U.S. security company, SourceDNA, said Sunday they had discovered 256 apps involved in the data collection, all of which had used a software development kit produced by Youmi. The iPhone maker made the announcement a day after researchers discovered hundreds of apps using Chinese advertising software that extracts “personally identifiable user information”. “We’ve identified a group of apps that are using a third-party advertising SDK [software development kit], developed by Youmi, a mobile advertising provider, that … gather private information, such as user email addresses and device identifiers, and route data to its company server,” the California-based company. “This is a violation of our security and privacy guidelines.

SourceDNA adds, “we believe the developers of these apps aren’t aware of this since the SDK is delivered in binary form, obfuscated, and user info is uploaded to Youmi’s server, not the app’s.

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