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Android smartphones loaded with suspicious 'bloatware'

Android

If you have a device Android, you may have heard about the so-called preloaded "bloatware".

Simply put, these are apps and services pre-installed on smartphones and tablets by providers, mobile operators and their partners, along with the basic Google Apps suite and Android itself.

Of course, several of these applications are useful, but the fact that many of them do not allow them to be removed from the device forces users to have apps on their devices, which they never use and that consume valuable space.

According to a new study researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain, and Stony Brook University in the United States, which analyzed 1.742 device data from 214 providers, bloatware can also be dangerous to the security of the device and user's personal data.

Initially, they discovered a large number of 424.584 files, of which only 9% corresponded to APK apps found on Google Play.

What was the purpose of the records?

As the researchers found, the main purpose of these files is to monitor users through social networks, advertising and analysis.

Many were the big names that appeared regularly in the survey, such as Spotify, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and AccuWeather.

The activities ranged from gathering location data to collecting metadata, phone calls, contacts and of course valuable activity data.

The analysis covered 144 countries, with the team also detecting a small number of known malicious applications.

What is important for Android device users to understand is that the data they produce when using their device is very lucrative for companies. And the huge amount of preinstalled applications and privileges increases the chances of software malfunctions that could exploit malicious third parties.

Researchers are proposing reforms, including phone makers having to record the installed software, indicating the developer and its purpose, and collecting any data.

They also propose reforming user consent - although this may not be easy to apply to a device with twelve or more of these preinstalled applications, each of which may require separate agreement.

Perhaps it would be easier to allow users to uninstall all incomplete applications. This will not solve the problem of bloatware, but at least it would give users some control over the issue.

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