More than 80 applications downloaded from Google's Android Market have been secretly gathering personal information from millions of users and sending it on to third parties, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
According to a report presented by security firm Lookout at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, more than 80 seemingly harmless custom wallpaper apps for Android mobile phones have been gathering phone numbers, user IDs and other personal information and forwarding them to an anonymous website in China.
It is not yet clear if the data leaks have resulted in fraud or any other criminal activity.
The Telegraph reports Lookout’s chief technology officer, Kevin MaHaffey, as saying: "While this sort of data collection from a wallpaper application is certainly suspicious, there’s no evidence of malicious behaviour. There have been cases in the past on other mobile platforms where well-intentioned developers are simply overzealous in their data gathering, without having malicious intent."
The suspicious applications have been created by developers Jackeey, Wallpaper and IceskYsl@1sters.
Following the report, Google suspended the applications from its store pending investigation.