This popular Android app has leaked data of 31 million users
This popular Android app has leaked data of 31 million users
Millions caught in virtual keyboard app data breach
07 December, 2017, 07:17
The personal information - all 577GB of it - was exposed online because the Israel-based maker of the app had failed to secure its database server, according to Kromtech Security Center, which exposed the leak.
Eitan Fitusi, Founder and CEO of Ai.type, told BBC that the quantity of data left visible was not as comprehensive as claimed. Fitusi is the co-founder of AI.type, a customisable on-screen keyboard which boasts of as many as 40 million users worldwide. Eventually the data contained on the server was secured and AI.type acknowledged that a security breach had occurred over the past weekend.
Around 577 GB of data was exposed online, although only Android users are thought to be affected.
Security researchers say the AI.type app's developer failed to secure the database server containing everything from user's names to their locations.
Data including phone numbers, a user's name, their device name and model, network name, screen resolution, user language and Android version are reportedly compromised - as well as extraordinary details that many user's likely never knew the app could see. Leaked records as per Kromtech Security, also had a range of other statistics like the most popular users' Google queries for different regions.
ZDNet who obtained a portion of the database to verify the information collected by the servers made a few scarier revelations to the breach.
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The seven-year-old company also claims that anything typed using its keyboards "stays encrypted and private".
For users who are anxious they may have typed a password or other sensitive information while using the app, there is little recourse as it's impossible to know for sure if that data was recorded and exposed.
ZDNet said it also found several tables of contact data uploaded from a user's phone, one with 10.7 million email addresses and another with 374.6 million phone numbers. The unprotected database from AI.type reveals just how much detail the app can grab from users without their explicit knowledge.
So pretty much the promise of privacy, which ai.type outlines on its website has appeared to have a strong whiff of BS. In particular he denied that IMEI information was collected, said the collected geo-location data was not accurate, and pointed out that user behavior data was only collected from ads that were clicked.
For now, the possibility that anyone who download the keyboard apps had all of their phone data exposed publicly online is a "logical" thought, adds Kromtech's Diachenko.
'Some want to sell the data they collect, others use it for targeted marketing, predictive artificial intelligence, and cyber criminals want to use it to make money in more and more creative ways.
'It raises the question once again if it is really worth it for consumers to submit their data in exchange for free or discounted products or services that gain full access to their devices'.
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