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Study Finds Bloatware Threat to Android Security

A study by IMDEA Networks Institute, Carlos II University of Madrid, Stony Brooks University, and ICSI puts the issue of Android security back on the agenda. It says that the presence of bloatware on smartphones is a threat to user data security.

Therefore, it has been found that this type of software is often responsible for collecting user information. Even more serious is that this gathering happens almost always without our knowledge.

Galaxy S8

To carry out this study, samples from over 200 different brands, 1,700 equipment and about 82,000 applications were collected. This shows that this scenario is transversal to the vast majority of companies operating in the mobile technology market.

What is Bloatware?

Simply put, bloatware are applications that manufacturers preinstall on their smartphones. Applications that may be part of an agreement to sell the equipment with your service provider. For example, Samsung has partnered with TripAdvisor and Facebook.

These Apps are bloatware. Apps that the user did not request or are required for the smartphone to function properly. However, there are cases where Apps are those "cleaners" that no one likes and won't let them uninstall.

The security of your Android may be compromised by the presence of bloatware.

Therefore, the study concludes that this compromise can be due to bad engineering practices of companies or their misuse. Therefore, external entities may make use of backdoors and the like to collect user data.

It is then possible to say that our personal data, our routines and activities on the smartphone can be constantly monitored by external entities. Worst of all, this happens without even the user suspecting it.

As a preventive approach, the authors of this study propose the creation of a global software regulator. Something similar to hardware, where independent parties would attest to the security of a particular version of Android.


Thus, the different interfaces on the market would no longer be approved only by their creators. In addition, this regulatory body should disclose documentation detailing all installed applications and their purpose.

As things are regulated today, it is almost impossible for Google to have a hand in this. Android is an open source operating system, which means anyone has the freedom to customize it to their liking.

Bloatware is just that: applications owned by entities that have nothing to do with Google. In addition, these are often impossible to uninstall or disable and are only and only taking up space on the smartphone and apparently collecting our data.

Lately Android security has been on the agenda and this is one more example. Given its popularity it is normal for this type of software to come in many branches. In this sense, it is up to the competent entities to ensure the screening of applications that compromise our security and that of our data.

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