We’ve seen a lot of Olympics-related features in apps and devices and even carriers, especially the past few days since the Rio games are just a few weeks away. But not all the apps that will get you into the Olympic spirit are that trustworthy. And even those that come from trusted sources may have security or privacy lapses as well. One such app is the Rio 2016 keyboard app from NBCUniversal but it’s a good thing the issue was caught by a security suite before any real damage was done (we hope!).
The keyboard extension, developed by Snaps for NBCUniversal, lets you add fun Olympic-themed items like gold medals, torches, and Rio 2016-specific emojis. It actually had a notice in the app itself that says:
“We also do not track information about the use of the Emojis and GIFs themselves. Nothing from the Rio 2016 Olympic Keyboard extension is retained on the phone, or sent back to our server.”
But upon investigation by Lookout, which does regular tests into apps and features to find privacy issues, the developer was unintentionally and unwittingly tracked information on what emojis and and GIFs users were sending their friends and worse, reports all the apps that you’ve installed on your device to a third party service. It also sends a user profile to Snaps that guesses your age, gender, and interests based on installed apps.
Once Lookout reported this to NBCUniversal, they immediately addressed the issues and has now updated the app to a more secure version. However we have no idea if the third party service where the information was sent has been able to use or act on what they have gleaned. If you installed the app on your Android device, better uninstall and reinstall the latest version just to be sure.