App/Game permissions

SpiceWeasel

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Just been having a look on Google play for potential new apps/games for when I pick up my new phone this week and noticed the permissions you have to agree to if you install the app :O As this will be my first android phone I must admit the alarm bells are ringing loudly.

I can understand some apps might need certain permissions for updating etc by allowing internet access but some of the permissions look a bit dodgy and very intrusive. Take Facebook for example and the rather disturbing "Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This allows the app at any time to collect images the camera is seeing" and "Allows the app to access the audio record path". Alot of the apps are able to view and modify your contacts, view pictures on your phone and a whole host of other dodgy sounding permissions.

Some of the permissions look to be used for targeted advertising but how do you know they are not upto something dodgy with all your personal information. How do you know if an app/game is safe to install and not just a method for gaining your personal information ?

Apple isn't any better as you don't even get asked to agree to the permissions, they have all the permissions they need by default.
 

fr0g

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I wouldn't worry too much. Sometimes they sound OTT, but then when you think about it, they are needed for certain aspects of the app to work. Facebook camera...needs camera permissions. It also writes to contacts, so it needs to be able to modify them.

Install "Lookout" security for a start. Then when installing new apps, if you are worried, check the reviews first.

There have been some rogue apps, but they do get caught quite quickly. But this is one "problem" when you allow more freedom of choice. ie you could download the Android SDK(for free), write an app and publish it. Not so simple on Apple.

I haven't had any issues at all in the 2 years I've been using Android though.
 

Paul.

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You don't get asked for permissions on install for the iPhone because you have to opt in to the services as they are needed. A pop up will come up requesting permission to use your location for instance, and then describe where you can change this permission in the future.
 

fr0g

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Paul Hobbs said:
You don't get asked for permissions on install for the iPhone because you have to opt in to the services as they are needed. A pop up will come up requesting permission to use your location for instance, and then describe where you can change this permission in the future.

Location pop-ups occur on Android too.

Are you telling me, Instagram (say) creates a pop-up asking for permission to use the camera, Whatsapp creates a pop-up asking for permission to read your contacts, write to the memory etc?
 

SpiceWeasel

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Maybe Android should reword the permissions as some of them do sound a bit dodgy. As you say most of them are probably harmless enough and require certain permissions to work correctly. Google sky map for instance needs access to your gps and internet which is what you would expect.

Good to know I am worrying about nothing. Out of interest do you use any antivirus programs on your phone? Pretty sure AVG have a free version for phones.
 

fr0g

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SpiceWeasel said:
Maybe Android should reword the permissions as some of them do sound a bit dodgy. As you say most of them are probably harmless enough and require certain permissions to work correctly. Google sky map for instance needs access to your gps and internet which is what you would expect.

Good to know I am worrying about nothing. Out of interest do you use any antivirus programs on your phone? Pretty sure AVG have a free version for phones.

Lookout is AV and has remote lock/wipe and locate functionality. The free version is fairly limited, but good enough for me.

Prey is worth looking at too.

Basically always look at the permissions it asks for. Always checkout reviews, not just the ones on the play store (or indeed Samsung store)

The only permissions I'd be wary of were ones allowing an app to send SMS or make calls (if a game wants this for example...skip it)...of course if you download a different dialler or SMS app that will need it, but do some research on such apps first. One of the main malware practices is sending SMS to premium rate numbers...

Saying that, I have never encountered any malware and I break my own rules when downloading :)

I have however installed annoyware...Some dodgy developers add an ad-spam thing that periodically sends you a notification which is just an advert. But you can simply uninstall the app in this case.
 

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