Researchers have identified 41 apps from Google's Play store that could expose bank information and leak e-mail and Facebook passwords, among other things. Though the programs had both secure sockets layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS) protocols—the two main ways most Internet things are encrypted—using standard hacks, the computer scientists, who presented their paper at the ACM Computer and Communications Security Conference, easily got past those. "We could gather bank account information, payment credentials for PayPal, American Express and others," the researchers, from Germany's Leibniz University of Hannover and Philipps University of Marburg, wrote. "Furthermore, Facebook, email and cloud storage credentials and messages were leaked, access to IP cameras was gained and control channels for apps and remote servers could be subverted." Yikes.
They won't say which apps, leaving that up to our imaginations, which obviously think-up our exact phone layout. But, Ars Technica's Dan Goodin offers some hints. "Descriptions such as a 'generic online banking app' suggest that most if not all of them were offered by third-party developers rather than the websites or services they connected to," he writes. "Readers who are concerned their apps are vulnerable should start their inquiry by looking at those that are developed by outside firms." It's also possible that there are more than 41 very unsafe apps, as the researchers selected 100 of the 1,074 potentially vulnerable ones to test. Good luck.