The new app, Saraha which gets people to leave anonymous messages to other users has apparently been collecting users contact lists without their permission.
According to Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, who is the founder of the Sarahah app, his app is actually storing the contacts as it plans to introduce a new feature later on. It's possible to send messages on Sarahah, and register to receive messages on Sarahah, via a website. While the developers are claiming that this feature was to be removed before making the application live, there is no information as to what will happen to all the contacts that are already with the app developers. So, there isn't even really a reason for Sarahah to have access to your email address or phone numbers, let alone upload this information in secret to its servers. The security researcher confirmed that the app is doing the same on both the Android and iOS devices. While on iOS, the app says that it needs to access the users' contacts to show who has an account on the platform; on Android, the app seeks permission to access contacts without giving any reasons for the same. The app stands accused of uploading emails and phone numbers from user address books to its servers. Asking access to contact details without offering any feature associated with contacts simply raises a red flag.On a related note its very common for Android apps to sectreately team up and steal your data. He further added that the app will remove the data request with the next update. The app interactions also involved privilege escalation which is a phase wherein sensitive information is prone to get leaked. The database doesn't now host contacts and the data request will be removed on next update.
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Sarahah is estimated to have been downloaded by over 18 million people worldwide from Apple and Google's online stores and until recently, it reportedly ranked number three on the most downloaded free app for iPhones and iPads. Although in certain cases it asks for permission to access contacts, it does not disclose that it uploads such data.
For those who have installed Sarahah but no longer wish to share their data, head over to settings apps and select the app. "See which of your contacts are on Snapchat!" and the popup on iOS clearly says that the contacts will be uploaded to Snapchat's servers "so you and others can find friends, and to improve your experience". And that site doesn't ask for or access contacts from any of your digital address books.