Free mobile software apps are much more likely to pose data security and privacy risks to consumers and businesses than paid software, according to a new study of 1.7 million Android apps from Juniper Networks.
Free apps are 401 percent more likely to track location and 314 percent more likely to access user address books than paid apps, Dan Hoffman, Juniper’s chief mobile security evangelist wrote in a blog Monday night. They are also more likely to initiate phone calls, access a device’s camera and send messages unbeknownst to a user. […]
While most assume that apps track user location in order to serve up ads they think may be relevant, Juniper’s study found that there are far more that appear to be tracking where users are for other unknown reasons.
Juniper’s study assessed apps available on the Google Play market between March 2011 and September of this year. Apps available for Apple devices were not included because the company doesn’t disclose the type of information needed for this type of analysis.
Among the findings: […]
â€” 6.72 percent of free apps have permission to access to your address book, while 2.14 percent of paid apps do.