Android smartphones, beware of keyboard apps

Some computer researchers have discovered that the AI.Type Keyboard app has endangered the data of more than 30 million users

Many times we've talked about the cybersecurity issues that affect the Android mobile operating system on a daily basis. All too often, the security systems of the Google Play Store are "overwhelmed" by applications developed by hackers who try to infect smartphones in order to obtain users' personal data.

This time, however, we're not talking about the problems of Google's online store, but those of an application on the Play Store, installed by over thirty million users, and that has been "hacked" by computer security researchers from The Kromtech Security Center. The application in question is called AI.Type Keyboard and is a keyboard made by third parties that can be substituted for the official Google one. It's standard practice for Android users to customize their device with applications that change fundamental aspects of the smartphone. But when it comes to keyboard applications, it's always a rather sensitive issue, as we type in passwords on our smartphones to get into our personal bank accounts and social networks.

What happened to AI.Type Keyboard

According to research conducted by researchers at The Kromtech Security Center, AI.Type Keyboard's database where 577GB of users' personal information is crammed is not protected by any kind of password. Any user can track it down online and download all the information inside. It is the phone number, people's first and last name, smartphone model and IMEI, email accounts, contacts and social media links. In addition, researchers have shown that the application also collects data regarding what is typed by users. If the information gets into the hands of hackers, over 31 million people would be in danger. Experts from The Kromtech Security Center have already warned the application's developers, who immediately tried to fix the situation.

How to defend yourself

The first thing you should do to defend yourself against this flaw is to uninstall the application and use a more reliable keyboard. Once this step is done, you'll have to change the passwords to all the online services you use from your smartphone. Only in this way will we be sure that no hacker will get hold of our personal information.