SpyAware Android App Launches to Spy on Apps That Spy On You

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New free app reveals hidden data mining activities to inform users which apps are transmitting their data, how much data is taken, and where data is being sent without their knowledge

Spy on the Apps that Spy on You

We’re tired of seeing people’s private information pirated from their phone, whether for profit to sell to data collectors or a hacker with bad intentions--Craig Spiegelberg, founder and CEO of Privacy Sentry

Designed to help people defend their privacy and shed light on commonly-used, Wild West mobile app data mining practices, today SpyAware launched a new upgrade to its Android app to help people spy on the apps that spy on them. Available immediately, the new SpyAware app tells users which apps are transmitting their data, how much data they are taking, and where the data is being sent. The new version is now free, includes live notifications of specific threats for a user’s device and apps, and makes it easier to investigate where apps are sending data throughout the world.

“We’re tired of seeing people’s private information pirated from their phone, whether for profit to sell to data collectors or a hacker with bad intentions,” said Craig Spiegelberg, founder and CEO of Privacy Sentry, creator of the SpyAware app. “Our goal is to provide tools that reveal the hidden activities of mobile devices, give users control over their private information and ultimately allow them to dictate the terms of data sharing.”

After 24 hours of installation, SpyAware displays the phone’s data transactions in a dynamic threat report that identifies apps that took a user’s data, including many that are unnecessary to the function of the app – location, conversations, text messages, pictures, or contacts being among the most egregious. When a user launches the SpyAware app, the home page offers an easy-to-browse dashboard populated by a proprietary algorithm that classifies the apps’ risk behavior as red, yellow, or green. Using completely anonymized data, app behavior is considered high risk when it accesses personal information, especially if data is harvested while the phone is idle, continuously monitors GPS location of the phone, and/or sends data to potential high risk parties and sites outside the user’s country. It gives each user a personal risk profile by constantly measuring app behavior data to develop normalized scores that change with usage patterns. The dashboard also showcases how many vulnerabilities and permissions an app has, amount of data taken and received, number of times user location was used and a map identifying how many destinations and the locations where a user’s data was sent. Users can click a data point to easily investigate and browse the hosts where the data is being sent to by each app. Users can also filter by different types of activities to find apps that track location, send data over the Internet, and are active without a user’s knowledge. SpyAware has seen some apps harvest as many as 60 separate data elements.

Using information gathered through its app, SpyAware seeks to empower every consumer to fight back against worldwide consumer privacy exploitation by fostering a movement built on the belief that people should own the data generated by their smartphone or tablet. SpyAware has made it easy to report violators to the FCC and take action if an app is behaving badly. When violations are identified, SpyAware asks users to spread news across Facebook and Twitter to drive public awareness and pressure apps to change their policies. The company also asks users to use the SpyAware threat reports to write evidence-based app reviews of privacy violations in Google Play. If users do not get the information they seek, SpyAware suggests deleting the app until concerns are addressed. Users who have accepted an app’s behavior as legitimate, like an app accessing their location or sharing data for advertising purposes, can turn off SpyAware notifications for that specific app.

“The levels by which people have access to my information, both apps and others, is interesting and scary,” said Brett Simpson, a busy engineer and millennial father who is concerned about the privacy of his data. “I was shocked to see the amount of data Facebook, Google Maps, and Amazon take from my phone. I feel much more informed with SpyAware.”

Download the app in Google Play. SpyAware needs to be installed for 24 hours for a complete assessment and for the user to receive their first official threat report.

Connect with SpyAware on Twitter and Facebook.

SpyAware is created by Privacy Sentry Corp (PSC), a company that provides security software for mobile devices based on its patented technology that continuously monitors, displays, and disrupts the capturing of private data—whether between apps, data brokers, Internet companies, and government agencies. For more information visit http://www.privacysentrycorp.com.

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Michele Mehl
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