Out in the Open: How to Protect Your Secrets From Nosey Android Apps

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Photo: WIRED

When you install an app on your phone, it often spreads its tentacles into other various parts of the device. Sometimes, it taps into the hardware that identifies your location. Others, it grabs data from your address book.

If you use an Android phone, the OS will tell you — explicitly — what the app is trying to access, and it will ask your permission to do so. But you can’t provide permission for one data grab and then reject another. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition. If you want the Twitter app but don’t want it accessing your text messages, you’re out of luck.

That’s a problem for those of us who really want to protect our privacy, but still want to be participate in things like social media. And even if you trust everything the app developer is doing today, you never know if a new update may contain malware planted by someone else. That’s why Marcel Bokhorst created XPrivacy, an open source tool that lets you closely control the permissions for each of your Android apps.

In short, the tool can override a particular permission setting by feeding it junk data. For example, it can feed your Linkedin app fake location information, or your Twitter app an empty address book. And you can do this on an app-by-app basis. So, even if you prevent LinkedIn from accessing you location, you can still offer access to your mapping app.

See Full Story on www.wired.com

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