Feeds

This tool demands access to YOUR ENTIRE DIGITAL LIFE. Is it from GCHQ? No - it's by IKEA

Order a flat-pack kitchen, surrender your HDD's contents

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

If the Target hack – along with all its predecessors – taught us anything, it's that the database isn't the vulnerability. It's the data that's the problem.

If you're collecting data, you're a target. That means you have to ask yourself, “do I need this?”

Yet in spite of frequent demonstrations that a determined attacker will gain access to private data – and in spite of privacy regulations in many jurisdictions which stipulate that companies shouldn't go fishing for data in case it's useful one day – examples abound of cavalier attitudes to data collection.

Take a look, for example, at this image I grabbed when I was looking over the IKEA Kitchen Planning tool:

IKEA kitchen planner wants to see it all

Oh, really, IKEA?

This, remember, is a kitchen planner: it lets you grab IKEA product images, slip them into place in your kitchen floor plan, and see what the result will do in 3D.

Yet for some reason, IKEA - or the developer it hired - thinks the kitchen planner needs very, very wide permissions before it will run.

Moreover, the warning wasn't raised by the kitchen planning tool. The Register only spotted it because Chrome raised the dialog. No such warning appeared when we accessed the same site on Firefox, for example.

Nor is there anything in the kitchen planner's license agreement (here) to warn of the permissions sought by the application.

IKEA's privacy policy says the company is, within Australia, bound by the National Privacy Principles, and that it “does not sell, rent or release information gathered on our website to any individuals, companies or groups.”

However, that doesn't necessary apply to partners – and the plug-in comes not from IKEA's site, but from 2020.net.

The latter's privacy policy doesn't mention the breadth of permissions sought by the IKEA kitchen planner.

It's quite likely, in fact, that neither IKEA nor its partner are aware, at a corporate level, that the application is so potentially intrusive. It's almost certain that the application doesn't take full advantage of the permissions it's seeking.

It's probable that the developer created the app with the widest possible permissions so it worked easily in the lab, and never went back and changed them to something appropriate for the Internet: I accept that.

It's also possible, however, that a developer who doesn't apply appropriate permissions also decided to test the app's data collection capabilities. Even if the ordinary user noticed the requested permissions, how would they test whether, in fact, the kitchen designer was benign?

If unnecessary data is collected, however, it's a honeypot.

In fairness IKEA isn't the only offender (and The Register did e-mail questions to the company, but has not yet received a response).

But the idea that “data is there to be collected”, in a world that's seen so many major compromises, has to be stamped out. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?