Details Exposed for Approx 100M of 23 Apps Includes Names, Birthdates, Private Messages
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Sensitive personal information including names, birthdates, and private messages was found online in misconfigured cloud services. The exposed personal information belongs to Android users who have downloaded one or more Android apps to their mobile devices.
Apps such as Astro Guru, iFax, Screen Recorder, taxi app T’Leva all had user data left online in an unsecured database.
Cloud-based servers are frequently used to store real-time user data, app notifications, app management, user analytics, and app updates.
Using could based services is fine, but they must be secured so user data is not publicly accessible where it can be exploited by cybercriminals.
“After examining 23 Android applications, Check Point Research (CPR) noticed mobile app developers potentially exposed the personal data of over 100 million users through a variety of misconfigurations of third-party cloud services,” said cyber security researchers at Check Point Software Technologies in a blog post.
Cyber criminals troll the internet looking for misconfigured cloud-based servers where they can steal personal details like email name birth dates. They use this information to launch cyber attacks, to send phishing emails, and steal money.
People often use the same password over and over again across multiple online accounts. A seemingly harmless Facebook login may use the same email and password as something valuable like your work email address.
If a hacker can break into your work email or enterprise Microsoft 365 account, they can exploit this to steal valuable employer information like human resources data, corporate contracts, and banking information.
One app that I use, Screen Recorder, exposed the access keys that would let anyone see the images taken on a device that uses the app. Scree Recorder has over 10 million downloads.
Exposed data includes:
- Real names
- email address
- Chat messages
- Screen recordings
- Payment details
- Phone numbers
- Push notifications
- Device ID
“This misconfiguration of real-time databases is not new, and continues to be widely common, affecting millions of users. All CPR researchers had to do was attempt to access the data. There was nothing in place to stop the unauthorized access from happening,” says Check Point.
Perils of Exposed Personal Data
Exposed personal details like email, password, and birthdates can easily lead to identity theft or financial theft. Cybercriminals use this information to gain admin access to computers, IT networks, and baking logins.
Protect your phones laptops tablets and online accounts
- Use a unique password for every online account. The average person has over 100 online accounts for credit cards, banking, social media, email accounts, and store loyalty programs. Remembering a unique password for each one can be very difficult. Use a password manager to help create and store secure and unique passwords. A password manager can be synched safely across all of you are electronic devices
- Always download apps from the official Google Play or Apple store. Be cautious about permissions that you give to apps upon installation. Always read the terms of service and never give any app more permission and it reasonably needs to do its job.
- For example, there is no reason for a screen recorder to access all of your phone contacts or calendar.
- Reliable antivirus subscription app to protect all your devices from phishing emails and malicious websites. That way if your email and password combination has been swiped by hackers, your devices will have some protection from future cyber attacks.
- Set up a credit monitoring service to safeguard all your financial accounts.
- Change your passwords often!