Android phone users beware- a new data breach was found in what was supposed to be an app that was completely harmless. BBC.com reported that Ai.type, an app that provided custom keyboards for phones and tablets, was found with 31 million Android users personal data. Kromtech Security Centre, a branch of the security company Mackeeper, made the initial discovery.
A war of words between Ai.type and Kromtech ensued. The app admitted to the data breach but claimed it wasn’t sensitive. Bob Diachenko of Kromtech explained that the app collected an assortment of data, from phone numbers and locations to contacts and keystrokes.
Eitan Fitusi, a founder of Ai.type, defended the company explaining that the data collected was not as extensive as Kromtech claimed. Fitusi claims that he is confident about the apps’ security. While there was an immense amount of personal information available, there were no credit cards or payments of any kind found in the breach.
This story should be concerning to consumers due to the number of downloads the app had. Since Ai.type’s launch in 2010, the app has been downloaded over 40 million times on the Google Play store. Because the Google Play store is highly unregulated, app developers have an exuberant amount of power over what they can do and collect within their apps.
With Android-based phones taking up most of the mobile phone market, one has to wonder how many other apps are doing this, and how many more people have their data stored from an app. In contrast, the App Store from Apple operates differently from the Play store, as it is highly regulated for these types of situations. Maybe Android could learn a thing or two from their competitors.
This article was originally published by BBC Technology, Millions Caught in Virtual Keyboard App Data Breach. 5 December 2017.