Feeds

Want to keep Android apps from spying on you?

WhisperCore to the rescue (some restrictions apply)

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A security researcher has released an Android app that allows users to control precisely what information they share with other programs installed on their smartphones.

The latest version of WhisperCore remedies a shortcoming of the Google mobile operating system that has vexed users since its release: a design that often forces them to share their precise location or unique phone identifier with app developers even when the sensitive information has nothing to do with the service being offered.

For years, Google has failed to address complaints about this take-it-or-leave-it approach, so Moxie Marlinspike, the principal behind Whisper Systems, has taken matters into his own hands. Version 0.5 of WhisperCore offers a simple interface that provides fine-grained control over what data apps may accessScreen shot from WhisperCore.

“WhisperCore's selective permissions take Android beyond all-or-nothing decisions, giving you fine-grained control over what data your apps have access to,” an announcement for the new feature said.

The application provides a list of apps installed on the handset and lets users uncheck a box next to each piece of data the apps want to access. Angry Birds, for instance, which can't be installed unless users agree to share their location, can be denied this data with the tap of a touch screen.

Other apps have attempted to do much the same thing by revoking access to those resources, causing the denied apps to crash. WhisperCore takes a different approach by supplying selected apps with randomized location coordinates or device identifiers or a contact database that's empty.

WhisperCore runs only on the Nexus S and Nexus One handsets, but getting it to work on a wider range of hardware is “definitely a priority,” Marlinspike told The Register. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.