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voice chat app data leak
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Security & privacy

This messaging app was leaking customer voice data. Is it on your phone?

In addition to remaining in contact with friends and family on social media, some apps let you send voice messages without racking up fees. But it turns out that one of these apps isn’t as secure as initially thought.

Read on to see how this voice recording application leaked recordings and what you can do about it.

Android app in Google Play Store putting your data at risk

Even though you can record and send voice messages through apps like WhatsApp, many people prefer other options. One is OyeTalk, available on the Google Play Store for Android devices.

According to Cybernews, the app uses Google’s Firebase development tool, which stores voice messages on a cloud-based server. It turns out that this server wasn’t password-protected, leaving the door wide open for anybody to listen in.

Additionally, “If the data leaked had not been backed up and a malicious actor had chosen to delete the dataset, it is possible that the user’s private messages would have been permanently lost without the possibility of recovery,” researchers at Cybernews explain.

In theory, due to the lack of security measures, a hacker could:

  • Access your chats.
  • See usernames.
  • Identify your mobile device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number.

The developers also opted to store sensitive information about users’ mobile phones, such as the Google API key and links to Google storage buckets. By following the links, a hacker could access various unsecured voice messages.

Delete this app ASAP

After the discovery, researchers sent a note to OyeTalk’s developers, but they failed to close public access to the database. Eventually, Google’s security measures kicked in and plugged the gaps.

If you are concerned about privacy and personal data, you must immediately remove the app from your Android device. Here’s how to thoroughly remove apps on Android and Apple devices.

For Android:

  • Long-press an app, then tap App Info > Uninstall
  • Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications to see a list of your apps and delete them the same way. 
  • Or you can open the Google Play Store app and navigate to Menu > My apps & games. Tap on the app and hit Uninstall

NOTE: Samsung and OnePlus phones have an Uninstall option under the app shortcuts menu.

While this app is only for Android phones, removing iOS apps you no longer use or need is always good. Here’s how to do that:

  • Touch and hold an app, then tap Remove App > Delete App > Delete
  • You can also use the App Library, introduced in iOS 14, to get a curated list of your apps grouped by category. Swipe past the last page of your Home screen to access it.
  • Tap and hold the apps you want to remove, then select Delete App > Delete.

Keep reading

Security warning: How to spot fake ChatGPT apps hiding malware

Security tip: The right way to clean out your smartphone apps

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