Android doesn’t have the best of reps when it comes to security, and this news isn’t going to do the operating system a great deal of good. A group of researchers have discovered that around two thirds of popular Android apps engage in private communications with remote servers, and nothing good is coming of it.
MIT's Julia Rubin, Michael I. Gordon, and Martin Rinard, along with Global InfoTek's Nguyen Nguyen, found that the secret comms don’t benefit users, and can actually cause unnecessary issues, such as battery drain and possible security holes. Some apps, including Twitter, engage in private communications even when they’re not actually active, and others ceased to function when the researchers put an end to their communications.
“This covert communication comes with costs such as potential privacy breaches, bandwidth charges, power consumption on the device, and the unsuspected presence of continued communication between the device and remote organizations,” reads the report. “Our analysis shows that covert communication is quite common in top-popular Android applications in the Google Play store.”