Not long ago, I wrote an article warning all smartphone users to be wary of every free app that comes their way while highlighting the risk that accompanies the app’s download. Well, Apple just turned the spotlight on the same matter by removing hundreds of apps from its store because of the risk they pose to smartphone users.
The apps in question were found to be using a software that had the ability to collect personal information, including user’s email and device identification numbers and funny enough, the developers of the apps don’t seem to know about it.
Well, this is serious. If the developers could miss it, how much the ignorant phone users? This is one good reason for all smartphone users to be as smart as they can be.
Anyway, the apps were traced to their developers in China and the source of the problem was discovered to be from a third-party advertising software development kit (SDK) the developers got from Youmi, a Chinese advertising company.The SDK was discovered to be accessing user’s personal data and a list of downloaded apps, and routing the data to its own server, instead of the apps server, according to Apple and SourceDNA.
So far, 256 compromising apps were found by the SourceDNA researchers which all together accounted for about 1 million downloads — that used the affected software from Youmi thereby making Apple to remove the so-called apps but the tech giant did not disclose the number of developers that were affected, nor the number of apps it removed.
This is Apple’s statement about the matter:
We’ve identified a group of apps that are using a third-party advertising SDK, developed by Youmi, a mobile advertising provider, that uses private APIs to gather private information, such as user email addresses and device identifiers, and route data to its company server. This is a violation of our security and privacy guidelines. The apps using Youmi’s SDK will be removed from the App Store and any new apps submitted to the App Store using this SDK will be rejected. We are working closely with developers to help them get updated versions of their apps that are safe for customers and in compliance with our guidelines back in the App Store quickly.