Privacy: Popular ai.type keyboard leaks personal details of 31 million users

Privacy: Popular ai.type keyboard leaks personal details of 31 million users

Security researchers claim to have found the personal data of 31 million Android users of the keyboard app Ai.type after finding an open database online. The server contained sensitive information of all Android users of the app.

AI.type says on its website that user's privacy 'is our main concern'.

"Researchers were able to access the data and details of 31,293,959 users".

Now it's worth pointing out that the ai.type Keyboard app does note that it'll suck up data and requires permissions to the user's mobile contacts database, though it points out that "all information is locally stored on smartphone's vocabulary". Each record also reveals the user's registered location, such as their city and country.

The seven-year-old company also claims that anything typed using its keyboards "stays encrypted and private".

For users who are anxious they may have typed a password or other sensitive information while using the app, there is little recourse as it's impossible to know for sure if that data was recorded and exposed. "This presents a real danger for cyber criminals who could commit fraud or scams using such detailed information about the user", Bob Diachenko of the Kromtech Security Center said. Installation of the app on an iPhone requires "Full access" for it to work, granting it access to a massive amount of information, including past keyboard data.

ZDNet who obtained a portion of the database to verify the information collected by the servers made a few scarier revelations to the breach.

Mecklenburg County server held for ransom
Earlier in the day Tuesday, a Mecklenburg County source said the outage was "believed to be due to an external threat". Right now, you can't look up or pay your property tax bill, and you can't apply for a job with the county.

Sadly these days there is no such thing as free, often our price is data upload, some of course is necessary for the app to do its job but more often than not it's simply not the case.

It seems that users who downloaded the freemium version of Ai.type had more data exposed than those with the paid version as the free one collects more information from devices.

More complete records also include the device's IMSI and IMEI number, the device's make and model, its screen resolution, and the device's specific Android version.

It doesn't stop there as the app also seemingly had access to a user's contacts.

A large portion of the records also included the user's phone number and the name of their cell phone provider, and in some cases their IP address and name of their internet provider if connected to Wi-Fi. If that wasn't enough data for the keyboard to mine, security researchers added that "there was a range of other statistics" including the most popular users' Google queries for different regions. Other records included information from linked Google profiles including profile pictures, email addresses, dates of birth and genders.

"This is once again a wakeup call for any company that gathers and stores data on their customers to protect, secure, and audit their data privacy practices", says Alex Kernishniuk, vice president of strategic alliances at Kromtech, which helped to uncover the leak.

'Some want to sell the data they collect, others use it for targeted marketing, predictive artificial intelligence, and cyber criminals want to use it to make money in more and more creative ways.

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