In another case of data theft, it has been reported that multiple apps are secretly collecting data from millions of Android and iOS users. According to a report by Buzzfeed News, Sensor Tower – an analytics platform which aggregates data on app downloads and usage for developers, has secretly collected data from both Android and iOS users through VPN and ad-blocking apps.
The platform reportedly owns around 20 Android and iOS applications with more than 35 million downloads. The apps available on Google Play Store include Free and Unlimited VPN, Luna VPN, Mobile Data, and Adblock Focus. The apps on App Store include Adblock Focus and Luna VPN.
Apple has removed Adblock Focus while Google has removed Mobile Data from their respective platforms. Further investigations are also being conducted. However, if you have any of these apps installed on your smartphone, you are under threat. The best way to deal with these apps is to remove them from your phone.
How data was stolen?
As per the report, the Sensor Tower app asks users to install a root certificate, which enables Sensor Tower to monitor all traffic and data passing through the phone. The platform reportedly bypasses Apple and Google’s restrictions on root certificate privileges as it asks users to install the certificate through an external website.
The company, however, claims that it only collects ”anonymised usage and analytics data”.
Its head of mobile insights, Randy Nelson was quoted in the report as saying that the company’s apps do not collect sensitive data or personally identifiable information, and that “the vast majority of these apps listed are now defunct and a few are in the process of sunsetting.”
Nelson also said that Sensor Tower chose not to disclose its ownership of the apps “for competitive reasons.”