Major privacy and security issues found in UC Browser

By Kul Bhushan | Published on 22 May 2015
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Citizen Lab has found a number of major security and privacy issues in the English language and Chinese language editions of the Android version of UC Browser

Major privacy and security issues found in UC Browser

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A Canadian research group has found that popular mobile web browser, UC Browser, is putting privacy of its users on risk by leaking sensitive data. The group found that the browser had given third parties access to sensitive users information such as location, search details and even device numbers. Alibaba spokesman Bob Christie, however, has claimed that the issue has been fixed as well as users have been notified about the update. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd had acquired UCWeb in June 2014.

According to Citizen Lab, the Chinese and English version of UC Browser had leaking the sensitive data that "represents a privacy risk for users because it allows anyone with access to the data traffic to identify users and their devices, and collect their private search data". The research group pointed out that the Chinese version of the mobile web browser was more vulnerable and that “a significant number” of sensitive data including personal and location information were left exposed to third parties. "By leaking a large volume of fine-grained data points to multiple network operators, the UC Browser app is increasing the risks to its users that such data may be used against them by authorities, criminals, or other third parties," the group further pointed out. Check out the full Citizen Lab report here.

UC Browser is one of the most popular mobile web browsers. The browser is estimated to have 500 million registered users and is very popular in India and China. UCWeb last year had announced a Partner Program in India that helped app developers acquire users as well as monetize their offerings. The program, made available through UCWeb’s 9Game/9Apps operation, offered mobile developers a suite of supports from low-cost and efficient user acquisition, fruitful app/game monetization, preferential revenue share plan to funding for remarkable developers. In order to boost its ecosystem, the company has launched a public beta of UC Browser for PCs featuring Cloud Sync, smart file manager and more. The browser has been launched in two versions- an Indian version and a general version. Users can download the UC Browser for PC Beta from pc.ucweb.com.

We recently interviewed Kenny Ye, Managing Director, UCWeb India and discussed about its future plans for the country and for browser. You can read the full interview here

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Kul Bhushan

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