Android owners warn of hidden risk when downloading apps on holiday – The Irish Sun

ANDROID owners have been warned that even if they look and feel the same, the apps they download while on vacation may not be as safe as they are at home.

Most apps are available worldwide and appear completely identical no matter where in the world you download them.

Apps are not necessarily the same everywhere


Apps are not necessarily the same everywherePhoto credit: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

But experts have shown that beneath the surface things could be working very differently – and not necessarily for the better.

According to the University of Michigan, user privacy and security while using the same app can vary significantly from country to country.

A team examined more than 5,600 popular apps and discovered hundreds with hidden changes by country.

127 of them had applied for so-called “geo differences” in the permits.

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49 of these requests are classified as “dangerous”.

And more than 100 had very different privacy policies depending on the country.

Apps in Bahrain, Tunisia and Canada demanded the most dangerous additional permissions, experts claim.

“While our study confirms reports of takedowns due to government requests, we also found many differences introduced by app developers,” said study co-author Renuka Kumar.

“We have found instances of apps with settings and disclosures that expose users to higher or lower security and privacy risks depending on the country in which they are downloaded.”

The research also uncovered the huge number of geo-blocked apps – apps that can only be downloaded in certain countries.

They found that a total of 3,672 apps were blocked in at least one of the 26 countries included in the study.

Iran and Tunisia appeared to have the highest blocking rates, with popular apps like Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, Flipboard and Google Books being banned.

VPN apps were also often blocked in Turkey and Russia.

“Developer blocking was significantly higher than government-mandated takedowns across all our countries and app categories,” Kumar continued The conversation.

“App Stores allow developers to target their apps to users based on a variety of factors, including their country and the specific capabilities of their device.”

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