Researchers at the data protection agency Incogni studied 344 apps in the Google Play Store across 16 categories and rated their level of privacy protection. The Incogni team evaluated the type of permissions requested to find out if applications are asking for unwanted or even dangerous permissions.
A dangerous permission, according to experts, gives the application access to the user's personal data or even control over the device.
The results show a huge difference between application categories. For example, the weight loss app category performed the worst, scoring the most for poor privacy policies. Home decoration apps came in second, followed by sports apps.
And quit smoking software has the lowest privacy risk, making quitting nicotine the best cybersecurity solution.
The analysis of Android apps also revealed more general trends. Of all the apps analyzed, 84% requested at least one dangerous permission. Over 74% of apps requested permission to read the contents of a USB drive, and 66% wanted to change or delete the contents of a USB drive.
Interestingly, the privacy risk depends on the popularity of the application - the more popular it is, the less it cares about the user's privacy. The most popular group of apps has an average privacy risk score 2x higher than the least popular group. They also use ad libraries.