What’s the issue with the mobile apps permissions?

If an App requires some permissions like Access Camera, Access Microphone, does it mean that they can do with these devices of a smartphone whatever they want, whenever they want?

Short answer

Yes, but it is not so simple

Long answer

There are rumours, that apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, G+, etc., are using the camera and microphone to spy on users, even when the device is in idle mode or when the app is not running in the foreground. It was also stated that exactly this was part of their EULAs and hence a legal procedure.

This is Google’s permission for “android.permission.CAMERA” / “android.hardware.camera2” and reads as such:
“Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.”

all those statements are theoretical assumptions. They are possible to be implemented, however, these apps will never do that.

This doesn’t mean that there are no apps that do exactly this. But, this is the exception and not the rule.

Be careful

If an app requires too many permissions, or if it requires permissions that it should not need, then it is something strange there.

For example, an app that play music doesn’t need to send SMS or read email or make phone calls.

© Copyright 2016 Sorin Mustaca, All rights Reserved. Written For: Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity

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About the Author

Sorin Mustaca
Sorin Mustaca, (ISC)2 CSSLP, CompTIA Security+ and Project+, is working since over 20 years in the IT Security industry and worked between 2003-2014 for Avira as Product Manager for the known products used by over 100 million users world-wide. Today he is CEO and owner of Endpoint Cybersecurity GmbH focusing on Cybersecurity, secure software development and security for IoT and Automotive. He is also running his personal blog Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity and is the author of the free eBook Improve your security .
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