Almost half of the mobile apps running on Apple’s iOS operating system access the unique identifier of the devices where they’re downloaded, computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have found.
In addition, more than 13 percent access the devices’ location and more than 6 percent the address book. The researchers developed a new app that detects what data the other apps running on an iOS device are trying to access.
The findings are based on a study of 130,000 users of jailbroken iOS devices, where users have purposefully removed restrictions that keep apps from accessing the iPhone’s operating system. Most apps in the study were downloaded from Apple’s App Store and access the same type of information on unlocked, jailbroken, phones and on locked phones, said Yuvraj Agarwal, a research scientist in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego, who co-authored the study with fellow researcher Malcolm Hall. Agarwal will present the findings at ACM MobiSys, the premier mobile systems conference, which takes place June 25 to 28 in Taipei, Taiwan.
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