March 30, 2015
Single purpose API
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A recent research paper reports that a set of Android APIs called Installed Application Methods (IAMs) are exposing Android users' sensitive information to advertisers. IAMs can be abused to retrieve a list of other apps installed on the device which can help advertisers infer sensitive information.
As various services like Facebook deal with competitors by packing more functionality into their apps, those apps are increasingly experiencing usability issues. In the old days of the API economy, outside developers could leverage a service's APIs to build something better. But those days are gone.
According to a recent commit to the main repository of the Android Open Source Project, Google is preparing to prevent apps from monitoring network activity in the background. The new commit will restrict app access to /proc/net, which contains kernel output related to network activity.