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Popular Android Keyboard App Collected Private Information, Has Been Breached

By December 28, 2017June 9th, 2022Cybersecurity

How many apps do you have on your smartphone? Do you know how much data they’re collecting about you?

Most people have scores of apps installed (and often hundreds), even if they only use a few on a regular basis, and shockingly, most users have no idea just how much information those apps are collecting about them.

However much you imagine, the answer is probably “more.”

This point was driven home painfully, courtesy of a recent discovery by a team of researchers at the Kromtech Security Center. They found completely insecure database online, a staggering 577GB in size, owned by an Israeli-based startup called AI.type, makers of a virtual keyboard app bearing the same name.

The information it contained is simply mind boggling.

Not only does it contain personal information on 31 million of the app’s 40 million users, but the database contents reveal just how intrusive AI.type actually is. The data includes:

  • Each user’s full name, email address and phone number
  • What OS version the user is using (AI.type is only available to Android users)
  • Each user’s nation of residence, mobile network name and what languages each user has enabled
  • IP and GPS location data
  • All information included with each user’s social media profiles, including birthdays, photos, posts, etc.
  • Each user’s device name, the make and model of their smartphone and screen resolution

As If that wasn’t enough, the research team also discovered that each user’s contact list had been scraped (including names, email addresses and phone numbers), and that the company was tracking a whole range of internet behaviors, including Google search queries, number of messages sent per day, the average length of those messages and more.

Obviously, there’s no reason that a simple keyboard app needs this level of information on its users. The only possible explanation is that it’s being collected for resale. If you use the app, be aware that the company knows almost everything about you and everyone you’ve been in contact with on your phone, and now, so do a lot of other people who don’t have your best interests at heart.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.