Do you own a smart phone on the Android operating system? Maybe you've noticed your bank account is draining a bit quicker than usual?
It was recently found that one of these keyboard apps for Android, is doing more than giving you a new typing experience. This new keyboard is designed to deliver a personalized experience by allowing you to add different emoji's, fonts, BitMoji's and more.
While this may be enticing over the standard keyboard, it comes at a cost. The application in question is called, Ai.type, and works in the background of your smart phone. While you are minding your normal business, the application works too make "suspicious" requests to subscription based services connected to your phone.
Part of the keyboards code, acts as an input device to give backlinks to advertising trackers, and disguises it self as other popular applications to sign up for the premium services. The effect, is that your phone starts to work on overdrive, is drained faster, uses up your data, and adds charges.
While you may have the standard or free plan, Ai. type tries to upgrade these to premium accounts. As many of these services are charged directly through the Google Play or Apple store, then the user would not be the wiser until their statement came out. It is believed that if not caught, they could have cost users up to $18 million. So if you've received a mysterious text saying you signed up recently, make sure to investigate it.
Additionally, this keyboard app, asks for more permissions than is necessary. These include accessing and viewing text messages, videos, contact data, photos and other data stored on-device.
in 2017, Ai.type had an exposed database that leaked data for over 31 million customers
At this time, the keyboard has been removed from Google Play store, but is available on other Android marketplaces. A version exists on Apple's App Store, but is under investigation to understand the scope of their presence.
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