A privacy risk assessment on Opera Max, a leading data management and data savings app for Android, revealed that more than half of the top 60 Android shopping apps collect users’ personal information through trackers.
What’s more, another research shows that personal information such as user's name, email address, locations, search terms and phone number are shared with third parties through trackers.
Some of the most “leaky” shopping apps, such as Amazon, BestBuy, JC Penney and Newegg, in fact send relatively high numbers of trackers.
The study also shows that as many as 96% of the shopping apps did not use full encryption to connect the apps to their servers, posing privacy risks to mobile shoppers when they are using these apps.
Personal data can be shared with third parties through trackers on shopping apps or unencrypted http connections over mobile carrier connections. Sensitive data such as bank account numbers and other financial information, which are stored in online retailer accounts or shopping apps, can be intercepted and read by identity thieves via public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
“Most people would not reveal their credit card details or full name to employees of a physical store where they live, when shopping and browsing for products. But on mobile apps, people are not aware that this kind of information can be shared,” says Sergey Lossev, Head of Product, Opera Max. “That is why we have implemented privacy mode in Opera Max. We want to educate our users by revealing which apps are sharing their data through trackers without permission.”
New Opera Max enhances Android users’ privacy
Opera Max therefore launched its new privacy mode feature, offering real-time alerts on the privacy mode timeline so that users can easily see which apps are sending high-risk requests, thus putting their privacy at risk.
Once Opera Max’s privacy mode is activated, it also encrypts virtually all app data traffic and blocks almost all types of data trackers to ensure users can shop with peace of mind.
“Once you know how many trackers and unsecured connection requests your apps have sent out, you may want to ensure all your app traffic is protected and encrypted by Opera Max. You can then protect your privacy when shopping. Just take a look at what your apps are doing and decide for yourself,” adds Lossev.
Learn more about Opera Max’s privacy mode or download it here for free.
Annotations regarding the shopping privacy assessment:
- The results are from a test done on the 60 most popular shopping apps in ten countries, including Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, United States, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
- These 60 popular shopping apps are: Amazon Shopping, AliExpress, Americanas, ASOS, Avito, Best Buy, Blibli, Bukalapak, Casas Bahia, Chợ Tốt, Dafiti, Deallabs: Bon plan & Code promo, eBay, eBay Kleinanzeigen for Germany, Elevenia, Flipkart, Groupon, Gumtree (South Africa), H&M, IKEA Store, Jabong, JC Penney, JD Sport, KASKUS Jual Beli, Kleiderkreisel, Lamoda, Lazada, Letgo, Lidl, Magazine Louiza, MatahariMall, Mercado Livre, Myntra, Net-A-Porter, Netshoes, Newegg, OkieLa, OLX Indonesia, OLX South Africa, Paytm, Rakuten, Revolve, Sendo.vn, SHOPBOP, Showroomprive, Shpock, Snapdeal, Spree, Submarino, Takealot, Thế giới di động, Tokopedia, Vente-privee, Wildberries, Wish, Yandex Market, Zalando, ZALORA, Walmart.
- All shopping apps have been tested on Wi-Fi networks and made at least 100 requests within each app by browsing random products. Then, Opera recorded the result based on what was shown on the timeline of Opera Max’s privacy mode.