Thousands of applications running on this code have been found to be collecting and sharing private data.
According to researchers at Citizen Lab in Canada, there are currently thousands of popular mobile apps that are running code created by Baidu, the internet giant from China, and the code has been causing those applications to collect the personal information of the users and transmit it to the company.
The researchers pointed out that a great deal of that personal information would be very easy to intercept.
It is estimated that the mobile apps using Baidu’s code have had hundreds of millions of downloads. The researchers have traced the issue back to problems in the software development kit (SDK) by Baido for creating Android applications. The mobile security threat applies to the Baidu browser as well as the apps that were created by the company and other firms that employ the same SDK in their app development. That said, while it was primarily Android applications that were affected, the Windows browser from Baidu was also among them.
The same researchers said that comparable types of security issues were present in the Alibaba UC Browser mobile app.
The UC Browser from Alibaba and another popular mobile browser that is broadly downloaded and used in the largest internet market on the planet have also both been affected with unsecured personal data transmission.
That said, while Alibaba has already moved forward and has repaired the vulnerabilities, Baidu had yet to have completed that task at the time of the writing of this article. The company was, however, in the process of making the repairs to the holes in the kit’s encryption. Still, it admitted that it would not cease to collect data for commercial use. Some of the data collected by Baidu will also be shared with third parties. Still, the company said that it “only provides what data is lawfully requested by duly constituted law enforcement agencies.”
Among the unencrypted information collected through the Baidu code based mobile apps are the search terms that have been used by the user, his or her website visits, and his or her location. This, according to the Citizen Lab chief researcher, Jeffrey Knockel.