Android App Steals and Sends User Data to China

A popular third-party wallpaper app for Android-based smartphones apparently collects user’s personal data and uploads it to servers in China without permission. The news was revealed by the mobile security company Lookout at the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas, according to VentureBeat.

The wallpaper app comes from Jackeey Wallpaper and has been downloaded somewhere between 1.1 million and 4.6 million times. It collects user’s voicemail password, SIM card number and subscriber ID, and sends the information off to in Shenzhen China.

Third-party apps don’t go through any screening process before appearing on the Android Market, which is Google’s version of Apple’s iPhone App Store. In contrast, apps must go through Apple’s screening and approval process before being distributed through the App Store.

Google monitors the apps that appear on its Android Market store, although in a more reactive mode when compared to Apple’s App Store approval process.

The issue with Jackeey Wallpaper’s Android app will no doubt serve as an example for Apple policy supporters showing why the company’s strict review policies are necessary.

Google has not yet responded to TMO’s request for a comment.