You may have noticed that the play store recently got an update, as well as fixing some of the problems in the store, such as apps not downloading or updating properly and improving the store experience on low end devices. While these parts of the new update are welcomed by Android users the new permission system has a lot to be desired.
When you download an app in the play store it usually shows you a list of all of the things that the app want’s to be able to access and interact with on your device for it to be able to perform the function that it was built for. This list of permissions shows an in-depth list for what the app want to access, such as network status and permission to access services that cost money such as phone calls and texts.
The new update how ever condenses this list in to simple terms for users that may not know what granting the permissions will allow the app to do. This can be a problem for security as you no longer get to see exactly what the app wants to do, just a vague outline.
Great news for malicious app developers and allow them to take advantage of the new permission system as they can write in a part of the app to call premium numbers or collect personal data in the background and the user would be non the wiser, therefore being potentially costly to the users of the Android platform.
The reason why this is such as problem is that when you download an app and grant the permissions that’s it. The app then has free will to do what ever it chooses and doesn’t have to prompt the user for access to these features meaning that the user may think the app is fine but it could be up to something in the background and the user would have no idea whats going on until they get the phone bill or see that their personal data has been spread around the internet.
I would say not to upgrade to the new version of the Play store until they fix this issue but you have no choice as the update is applied with out you having to approve it, due to this I would recommend that the apps you download can be trusted and if you have even the slightest doubt steer clear from the app.
Some third party ROM’s and apps give the user the ability to revoke the permissions granted to apps, this can be great for sorting out suspicious permissions for apps you don’t think really they need to have access to. Although if you do revoke permissions be very careful what you remove as some apps do need to have access and will probably break if denied access.
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