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A security question..

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by Dave Estam, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. Dave Estam

    Dave Estam Member
    Thread Starter

    I'm really new to android having received Venue 8 for xmas. Looking though installed apps I notice under permissions the extraordinary amount of things that alot of apps can do to you tablet without your permission and it seems at first look there is nothing you can do about it. Maybe I'm naive but when Facebook mentions it can add or modify calender events and send email to guests without owners knowledge, read calender events plus confidential information. Modify or delete the contents of my SD card, read the contents of my sd card. Too many others to mention, does anyone find this a problem or am I reading too much into this. The idea it can take pictures and movies without my knowledge baffles me.
    Many thanks for any comments.
     



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  2. androidmachine

    androidmachine Android Enthusiast

    The general problem of permissions is something that Android 6 (Marshmallow) seeks to address. There is generally a reason for each permission. For example, Facebook might want to read your calendar for birthday reminders, etc. It might need to access your camera for the purposes of video chat or posting selfies. I don't use the Facebook app, but I do know there are usually reasons for the permissions.

    The only permissions that bother me are network access permissions for apps that have nothing whatsoever to do with network access. They are either fetching ads or they are spying on me which I do not like.
     
    svim, Crashdamage and Hadron like this.
  3. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Though they sound scary, these things often do have legitimate uses. However, they also have illegitimate uses, so at some level you have to decide whether you trust the app developer. A good rule of thumb is that if an app has permissions that don't seem to be needed in order to do its job you should think a bit more carefully. If it has a lot of such permissions you should be very wary indeed. You may find this thread helpful: http://androidforums.com/threads/an...ned-security-tips-and-avoiding-malware.36936/.

    Of course sometimes apps have excessive permissions because the developer doesn't really understand them and finds it easier to ask for a lot of permissions than work out exactly which is needed. Personally I still think that's a bad sign, though perhaps for other reasons ;).

    The trick is understanding why certain permissions might be needed. So for example, if you want Facebook to be able to add events you are invited to to your calendar, it needs permission to modify the calendar. If you want to be able to save a picture from it, it needs to be able to write to your SD card. If you want to be able to add a picture to a post it needs to be able to read SD (if it's one you've already taken) or control the camera (if you want to take the picture as part of composing the post). So there are uses for those things that link to its functions. It probably wants to read your contacts so that it can suggest people you might want to connect to on FB (I don't have the app installed, but that's the sort of thing I'd expect it to do). But having said all of that, FB are not noted for respecting people's privacy, so if you are careful about that you may be better with some other app that gives access to FB without giving FB so much access to you (e.g. Tinfoil for Facebook, or just a web browser).

    To give some examples that are often not understood: an app that is ad-supported will need internet access whether that is required for its main task or not. Flashlight apps will need camera access to control the LED flash. And media apps will usually need phone access so that they can tell when a call comes in and stop playing.
     
  4. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Think about installing a firewall app on your Venue 8 so you can control which apps/services are allowed to have online access. Droidwall is a good 'root required' app, NoRoot Firewall doesn't require root.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.googlecode.droidwall.free&hl=en
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.greyshirts.firewall&hl=en
    But be prudent about blocking too much, read through what androidmachine and Hadron posted, a lot of apps need permissions to things that on the surface appear to be unnecessary but in the background are quite functional.
     
    androidmachine likes this.
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