Android Bloatware Is A Security Threat

Android bloatware–the apps and other software that come pre-installed on Android phones–has been proven to be one of the key reasons Android is more vulnerable to security breaches than other phone operating systems. Click through to find out why bloatware is compromising your Android’s security and what you can do about it.

A team of researchers from North Carolina State University tested eight different smartphones from major US phone manufacturers. The team was able to exploit security vulnerabilities to wipe the phones’ data, call/text premium numbers and read private SMS and email messages.

They were able to access these private functions because pre-installed bloatware applications were leaking permissions. By tweaking the system configuration settings made by the phone manufacturer, the team was able to access a back door to the sensitive phone data.

Related: What are Android Permissions anyway?

To security-test the phones, the researchers built their own tool to test permissions on the operating system. The “control” in the experiment was the Google Nexus One phone, which comes installed with a version of Android closest to the untouched, out-of-the-box OS.

You can see the results of the test in more detail in the video below: