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Hundreds of iOS apps have been found to secretly spy on users

For all of Apple’s claims that it’s dedicated to user security, there still seems to be a unsettling large number of apps on the App Store that gather personal information on iOS users in violation of Apple’s privacy policies. It was discovered by a group of researchers from SourceDNA that there are at least 256 such apps on the App Store at the moment, something that Apple confirmed earlier today and, to its credit, immediately started fixing.  

A group of researchers revealed that there are more than 250 iOS apps that are in violation of Apple’s App Store privacy policy that forbids apps from gathering personal information that can be used to track users, such as e-mail addresses, installed apps, serial numbers and more. According to Ars Technica, as of yesterday there were 256 of these problematic apps and the high number shows a significant problem with Apple’s process for accepting apps into its App Store. Not only is it a problem for Apple, it’s a problem for the one million people estimated to have downloaded the apps. The way the data was gathered was so sneaky that it’s probable that the individual app developers didn’t know about it. Why? Because the data that’s gathered is only sent to the creator of the software development kit that’s used to deliver ads. Nate Lawson, the founder of the security analytics startup SourceDNA, told Ars, “This is the first time we’ve found apps live in the App Store that are violating user privacy by pulling data from private APIs.” Lawson went on to say this issue is something Apple shouldn’t have missed.

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Written by Connor Livingston

Connor Livingston is a tech blogger who will be launching his own site soon, Lythyum. He lives in Oceanside, California, and has never surfed in his life. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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