Apple Drops Banhammer on 256 Apps That Stole User Data

In yet another user-privacy scandal, Apple has stated that they have kicked out hundreds of apps from their app store after finding them in violation of the company’s privacy policy. More specifically, Apple found that hundreds of apps were found to harbor Chinese advertising software that was able to steal “personally identifiable user information” from its users.

In their press release Apple stated that, “We’ve identified a group of apps that are using a third party advertising SKD, developed by Youmi.” So far, Apple said they have found 256 apps with over one million downloads that use the Youmi advertising SDK in some form or fashion.

To make matters worse, Apple said that most of these app developers may not even be aware that their apps have been infiltrated by the Youmi SDK as it is commonly delivered in binary form, below the programming level that developers typically use.

Apple’s privacy policy states that they do not allow third-party apps to share data about an individual unless they have obtained explicit permission from the user – something that Youmi is bypassing by installing their SDK at the reference binary level. Additionally, SourceDNA – the firm that discovered the security flaw – mentioned that this was, “the first time we’ev seen iOS apps successfully bypass the app review process.”

Ultimately, it seems that no matter how hard we try to protect our sensitive personal information there will always be somebody trying to collect it. Is this an opportunity for new businesses to emerge in data protection, or are we simply stuck with having to deal with the thought that our data is never safe?

Image Credit: | Wikimedia Commons

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Author: Garrett Graff

Garrett is a qualified engineer, and when he's not helping businesses grow as a consultant at Palladous, you can find him building hobby race cars, managing the family farming business or chilling out on the lake fishing. Get in touch on Google+ or drop him a line by e-mail.

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