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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Exclusive: UC Browser found to leak Mobile Number and other Personal Details to Chinese Servers

UC Browser - India’s Most Popular Mobile Browser found to leak Mobile Numbers and other personal details to Chinese Servers. Owned by Alibaba, UC Browser has more than 500 million users in China and India. The study found that both versions of the application leak a significant amount of personal and personally identifiable data.


A study conducted by a Toronto based research group 'Citizen Lab' found major security and privacy issues in the English language and Chinese language editions of UC Browser. Any network operator or in-path actor on the network can acquire personally identifiable information like location, search details and mobile subscriber and device numbers etc. 


Key Findings of the Report 
  • Crucial user data such as IMSI, IMEI, Android ID, and Wi-Fi MAC address are sent without encryption to an analytics tool based in China called Umeng; which is owned by Alibaba. 
  • AMAP, a mapping tool developed by Alibaba receives user’s geological data such as longitude/latitude and address.
  • Shenma, which a mobile search engine developed by UC Browser and Alibaba receives all search queries conducted by the user on Google or Yahoo. And this data is not encrypted, which means that anyone, including Chinese Govt. can intercept this data and make good use of the same.
  • AMAP, the Alibaba mapping tool receives unencrypted data of the user such as location, total usage of mobile internet, data about nearest mobile tower, WiFi access locations, IP address etc.
  • When Chinese users of UC Browser attempt to delete their usage history, the DNS data is not deleted and its saved permanently in some remote Chinese servers. We can assume the same with Indian users as well.
"By leaking a large volume of fine-grained data points to multiple network operators, the UC Browser app is increasing the risks to its users that such data may be used against them by authorities, criminals, or other third parties," it said.

Dear readers, how many of you are using UC Browser? Please share your views and opinions about this latest news via comments with us.

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