Do you have the wrong kind of phone? New research shows that some of the smartphones specifically designed to support the Android mobile platform have incorporated additional features that can be used by hackers to bypass Android’s security features, making them more vulnerable to attack. Android has the largest share of the smartphone market in the US.

Computer scientist Xuxian Jiang says, "Some of these pre-loaded applications, or features, are designed to make the smartphones more user-friendly, such as features that notify you of missed calls or text messages. The problem is that these pre-loaded apps are built on top of the existing Android architecture in such a way as to create potential ‘backdoors’ that can be used to give third-parties direct access to personal information or other phone features."

So it’s true, after all: There are SPIES everywhere! (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show). Your cell phone wants to control you, there are spies on Facebook and a tracking file has been found hidden inside iPhones. Even the TOYS we play with a spying on us!

In Android phones, pre-loaded apps can be easily tricked by hackers. For example, these “backdoors” can be used to record your phone calls, send text messages to premium numbers that will charge your account or even completely wipe out all of your settings.

The researchers have tested eight different smartphone models, including two “reference implementations” that were loaded only with Google’s baseline Android software. “Google’s reference implementations and the Motorola Droid were basically clean,” Jiang says. “No real problems there.”

However, five other models did not fare as well. HTC’s Legend, EVO 4G and Wildfire S, Motorola’s Droid X and Samsung’s Epic 4G all had significant vulnerabilities–with the EVO 4G displaying the most vulnerabilities. The researchers notified manufacturers of the vulnerabilities as soon as they were discovered, earlier this year.

Jiang says, "If you have one of these phones, avoid installing any apps that you don’t trust completely."

And by the way, a new study shows that cell phones used in the shirt or pants pocket exceed FCC exposure guidelines and that when USING cell phones, children absorb TWICE as much microwave radiation in from phones than adults do.

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