Whether it is fair or not, there are some Android apps that have a reputation they are weak on security.
However, users now have one more tool that can help give a bit more reassurance as Bitdefender Clueful can warn Android users about apps that put privacy at risk.
The free app checks whether any of a user’s installed programs have a reputation of transmitting smartphone numbers to advertising networks or cause push-message spam. Clueful establishes this by querying one of Bitdefender’s servers; it doesn’t analyze the apps on the smartphone.
The core component of Bitdefender’s database is the privileges requested by each app. The developers said this information works with a code analysis that can, for instance, flag suspicious activities.
In tests by heise Security, the app did produce informative results. Clueful sorts apps according to three risk levels; most of the apps tested fell into the “Moderate Risk” category because they read the phone’s SMS text message inbox or its address book.
In heise Security’s testing, three apps were in the “High Risk” category. According to Clueful, they create advertising links on the home screen, send the smartphone user’s email address to advertising networks and display spam in the notifications bar.
When a user installs a new app, Clueful will automatically display a rating in the notifications bar. Manually searching the database of Android apps is currently not an option.