How Your Wallpaper Can Steal Your Data

Smartphones might be a little too smart

By Scott Budman
|  Thursday, Jul 29, 2010  |  Updated 11:34 AM PDT
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Is it My Little Pony, or My Little Hacker?

The latest news out of the Black Hat Security Conference is chilling, especially to the millions of people who have Android-powered phones in their pockets and purses. An app that lets you download wallpaper to your smartphone has been found to snag your personal data and send it off to China. What it's doing there remains a mystery.

The company making the wallpaper app is called Jackeey Wallpaper.  According to PC Magazine, someone may have hacked into the system. The magazine says as many as 4 1/2 million people downloaded the app, which lets you choose from wallpaper that features My Little Pony and Star Wars.

Here's a quick question:  Assuming that we're not buying phones for our 6-year-olds yet, who out there is rocking the My Little Pony wallpaper on their Androids?

Oddly enough, this plays into the hands of Apple, which -- unlike Android -- is not open enough to let you download an outside app like the Jackeey Wallpaper. Recent criticism of Apple's more secure app store is likely turning into sighs of relief for iPhone users who don't have to wonder if their mobile data is taking a quick trip overseas.

What happens next?  We'll see if Android users start to complain of problems because of the hack. Meanwhile, are you really ready to jailbreak your iPhone?  If so, you might want to keep the ponies out.

Scott's always been wary of My Little Pony. He's on Twitter  @scottbudman

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