General User Privacy Risks
Smartphone snooping is also made possible thanks the Apple Store, the Android Market and the Windows Phone Marketplace, and the varying degree of controls each of these libraries has for items to be added.
While the Microsoft and Apple app stores are relatively strict and offer users the ability to record thoughts and finding about the apps for others to act upon, the Android Market has been less strict, resulting in a number of questionable apps being listed and installed, several of which have been logging user information and sharing it with a remote server for commercial and illegal practices.
The safety of many of these has been called into question, and while steps have been made to make the Android Market a safer choice, the existence and success of third party marketplaces such as that provided by Amazon suggests that users aren’t entirely convinced of Google’s commitment to their privacy.
It remains to be seen if and how Amazon will be able to step in as a safe harbour app store for BlackBerry, Windows Phone and iPhone.
Regardless of the threat of malware and spyware from unscrupulous developers, however, there is also the threat of the web to consider, and how your smartphone browser can handle vulnerabilities. The very fact there are anti-virus apps for Android and BlackBerry phones proves that there is a threat to be considered.
Considerable security benefits can be gained by regularly wiping your phone (perhaps with a hard reset) of any apps and clearing the browser history. While the world awaits a severe browser exploit on one of the popular mobile platforms, it can only be a matter of time...