Study: Some free apps could be stealing your phone data

Study: Some free apps could be stealing your phone data

PITTSBURGH (WTVM) - A new security risk found in many popular free smartphone apps could be costing users their privacy, according to a university study.

Whenever you download an app from any app store, you more than likely do not read the app's terms and conditions that pop up on the screen.

Most apps will reveal what type of data you are allowing them to get contact list, location, online activities, or text messages.

allows you to check which apps are more likely to keep your information private.

According to PrivacyGrade, some apps that take the most data are: Fruit Ninja, My Talking Tom and Angry Birds. Apps that took the least amount of data are: Instagram, YouTube and Google Maps.

When researchers from Carnegie Mellon University compared the Google Play Store (Android) and the App Store (Apple), Android does not have per-app permission controls. Apple, on the other hand, does have permission controls for its apps which you can change on an app-by-app basis.

"Our privacy model measures the gap between people's expectations of an app's behavior and the app's actual behavior. Most people expect apps such as Google Maps to be able to access their location, but most are surprised and troubled to learn that a game accesses their location," Carnegie Mellon University Professor Jason Hong said.

Researchers say before downloading any Android app, check the app's page in the Google Play store. Google requires each app to show permissions that the particular app requires.

Also, it is recommended that you do not download an app from a third party app store; always download apps from the Google Play or App Store depending on what smart phone you have.

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