App Privacy and Controls

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Research into privacy, security, and information controls of popular applications.

Latest Research

Are the Kids Alright?: Digital Risks to Minors from South Korea’s Smart Sheriff Application

This report describes the results of two independent security audits of Smart Sheriff, one by researchers who collaborated at the 2015 Citizen Lab Summer Institute (held at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto), and the other by the auditing firm Cure53. The combined audits identified twenty-six security vulnerabilities in recent versions of Smart Sheriff (versions 1.7.5 and under). These vulnerabilities could be leveraged by a malicious actor to take control of nearly all Smart Sheriff accounts and disrupt service operations.

A Chatty Squirrel: Privacy and Security Issues with UC Browser

UC Browser is the most popular mobile web browser in China and India, boasting over 500 million users. This report provides a detailed analysis of how UC Browser manages and transmits user data, particularly private data, during its operation. Our research was prompted by revelations in a document leaked by Edward Snowden on which the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was preparing a story.

啰嗦的松鼠:UC浏览器的隐私与安全问题

UC浏览器是一种移动浏览器,它目前拥有超过5亿的注册用户,是中国和印度最受欢迎的手机浏览器。在《啰嗦的松鼠:UC浏览器的隐私与安全问题》这一报告中,公民实验室(Citizen Lab)发现中文和英文安卓版UC浏览器中存在多个隐私及安全漏洞, 并讨论了它们的重要性。

Asia Chats: Update on Line, KakaoTalk, and FireChat in China

In this post we report updates on how LINE, KakaoTalk, OneDrive and Flickr are being disrupted in China. We find that Flickr and OneDrive remain consistently blocked, but LINE and KakaoTalk show inconsistent fluctuation between accessibility and inaccessibility. We also analyze security and privacy of FireChat and test accessibility of the service in China.

Asia Chats: LINE and KakaoTalk Disruptions in China

In this post we examine how the Great Firewall of China is implementing DNS tampering and HTTP request filtering on KakaoTalk and LINE domains, which is disrupting service of the applications as a result. We find that Flickr and OneDrive are also blocked through DNS tampering. We also analyze recent changes to the LINE keyword filtering list.