“In a paper presented — and awarded the Ken Sevcik Outstanding Student Paper Award — at the ACM SIGMETRICS conference on June 18, Jason Nieh, professor of computer science at Columbia Engineering, and PhD candidate Nicolas Viennot reported that they have discovered a crucial security problem in Google Play, the official Android app store where millions of users of Android, the most popular mobile platform, get their apps,” ScienceDaily reports.

“‘Google Play has more than one million apps and over 50 billion app downloads, but no one reviews what gets put into Google Play — anyone can get a $25 account and upload whatever they want. Very little is known about what’s there at an aggregate level,” says Nieh, who is also a member of the University’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering’s Cybersecurity Center,'” ScienceDaily reports. “Nieh and Viennot discovered all kinds of new information about the content in Google Play, including a critical security problem: developers often store their secret keys in their apps software, similar to usernames/passwords info, and these can be then used by anyone to maliciously steal user data or resources from service providers such as Amazon and Facebook. These vulnerabilities can affect users even if they are not actively running the Android apps.”

“Nieh notes that even ‘Top Developers,’ designated by the Google Play team as the best developers on Google Play, included these vulnerabilities in their apps,” ScienceDaily reports. “Other findings of the research include showing that roughly a quarter of all Google Play free apps are clones; these apps are duplicative of other apps already in Google Play.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Open. As in, wide.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Todd” for the heads up.]

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