An app can use files or data stored on your device
Have you ever wonder why the Games on Playstore need so many permission from the users to install the Game. While installing a game you have must gone through the never-ending ‘Terms and conditions’ as well as permission list, which had given you second thought is these permission listed on the pop-up box are a threat to your personal data & belonging.
Apps that have an access to your Gallery or your Contact list and messages can store your bank transactions and one-time passwords, and access your pictures without your prior notice.
Did you know Apps that’s have “Full Network Access” know your exact location, your house number, favorite restaurants, email account details and more? There is no need to panic as not all apps on playstore are Designed to do so, these type of activity are specially performed by Food app which needs to know your location and address for fair delivery but what about Gaming app which collects these information without your prior notice?
When you download a Gaming app or an app update from Google’s Play Store, you get a pop-up listing all the permissions it needs to be given. It could include permissions to access your phone call details, Photo/Media files, Full Network Access etc but what a Gaming app have to do with that unnecessary permission, Here’s, the answer
The authorization to access photos & media on your Smartphone is the same as the authorization to access local storage. Basically, these games simply want to store their files locally. It also helps Game to permit and store the screenshot of the in-game in the internal storage of a phone.
Games usually create files while you play, for example, to store you’re save file, or when you download some add-on to the game, they are usually stored in the internal storage Ex: Android/Obb folder. Google has mentioned following info about this permission here:
An app can use files or data stored on your device. Photos/Media/Files access may include the ability to:
- Read the contents of your USB storage (example: SD card)
- Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
- Format external storage
- Mount or unmount external storage
Here is some other permission that a gaming app needs.
- Phone Permission – Let app know if you are taking the call and pause the game. (Most of the Game do it unnecessary)
- Location – It allows games to track your position with GPS helpful in AI games like Pokemon etc
- Microphone – It allows Online Multiplayer Game to use the microphone for the chatting purpose.
- Sensor – It helps Game to access gyroscope sensor to know the exact position of the smartphone and with that it can make an adjustment to the game automatically as well as other body sensors.
- Storage – To read and write the external storage
Now the thing for which you should be concerned about while installing any game is the “Full Network Access” this is where you need to be cautious. Although it helps app to send requests and get a response through the network while Gaming app need a Network access for Multiplayer Games which obviously need to add the users to their gaming servers like in PUBG, other than this is said to display ads on the game but with the Full Network access the Developers can gain access to your media/phone/files with given permission and can upload to their servers without your notice. Subway Train is one such game which has been accused of stealing data and was identified as a malware. It even had Millions Download.
Google now has changed the structure of the Android Apps running on Android 6.0 (API level 23) or higher, to protect the interest of users. The user isn’t notified of any app permissions at install time instead ask the user to grant the dangerous permissions at runtime and users can enable and disable as per their choice. It also gives users the option to enable and disable permissions one-by-one in system settings. Previously in Android 4.0 the app can access all the features listed above without any prior notice or the permission box but now each and every permission can be found on a pop-up listed before downloading the App. You can get more details over here – Permission overview
If you still not satisfied and want a full control over your apps installed on your Smartphone or want to see which app is messing around then you can download “Permission Dog” which is pretty easy to understand thanks to its UI, it helps to identify which app is potentially dangerous and which are okay and gives a Dangerous rating as per the acquired permission by an app and also keeps an eye on the types of information that your apps request.
If that sounds like too much effort, just don’t install the app and find other alternatives that’s more transparent. Do tell us in the comment whether you read out all the permission before downloading any app??
Shashank is an experienced technology blogger. He studies management but his heart lies in technology & Gadgets. He is basically Creative in Nature and his one of favorite thing is doing Shopping & Capturing Nature closely whenever he gets the free time