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Check Your Android Apps! Open Ports Can Disclose Your Personal Data

open ports android

Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.

The number of people who rely on their smartphones is really huge today, and it continues to grow. However, by doing this, we allow our personal data, such as geolocation, viewing habits, passwords, or even credit card details, to be available for cyber­spying. Unfortunately, the majority of the internet users doesn’t realize the security risks this negligence may bring and how it can affect our online and offline lives.

In this piece, we would like to talk about one of the weak spots that can threaten your online security, an open port. It is a communication interface, which allows devices to receive data from remote services and clients. This vulnerability is a perfect opportunity for scammers to take full control of gadgets, and wreak havoc on your privacy. Read on to find out how many Android apps have open ports and why this number should scare you.

Brief facts and figures about open ports

The results of a study conducted by the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Michigan show that hundreds of apps on Google Play are at risk of an attack because of open ports. Adversaries use these exploitable gaps in security to steal personal information and infect millions of devices with malware.

The researchers detected more than 400 Android applications with 956 individual methods to use these vulnerabilities. At a glance, the scale of the problem is not great, but take a closer look at these figures. Some of these apps have garnered about 50 million downloads on the Google Play. Moreover, one of these 400 was pre-installed on certain Android gadgets. Let’s stop right here and clear up what the implications of open ports can be.

Open ports give scammers the possibility to:

  • Remotely install malware  
  • Perform DDoS attacks
  • Exploit unsafe configurations
  • Steal sensitive data, such as: contacts, security credentials, photos, location data, etc.
  • Force a device to send undesired text messages

These newly discovered breaches were a reason to design a tool to discern the full scope of the port problem, later named “OPAnalyzer” (the Open Port Analyzer). With this software, experts analyzed tens of thousands of Android apps. The study found that 6,8% of them had open ports. The researchers marked down 5 categories of the applications that had such vulnerability:

1. Data sharing
2. Proxy services
3. Remote execution
4. VoIP calls
5. PhoneGap (applications based on the PhoneGap framework code signature).

This discovery attracted much attention to security defects of the Android apps and developers have already started to work on this issue.

In conclusion

Unfortunately, the problem of open ports persists and continues to bother online community. But KeepSolid experts don’t stand idly by and investigate these flaws to find a solution for our users. Right here, right now, we offer you a one-click tool, which will protect you from hackers and security threats on the web, VPN Unlimited. Get equipped to defend your online privacy and safety today.
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