Clueful privacy app resurfaces on Android following App Store ouster


Close to a year after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) removed the Clueful privacy tracking application from its App Store, developer Bitdefender has relaunched the service via Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform.

Clueful offers consumers insight into what the apps installed on their Android phone are doing in the background without their knowledge or consent. The service checks all apps against Bitdefender's cloud database, calculates the device's "Privacy Score" and alerts users to apps compromising their security. Bitdefender notes its database spans hundreds of thousands of apps and is updated in real time.

Clueful for Android is available for free--by comparison, Bitdefender offered Clueful for iOS at a price of $3.99. The firm will look to monetize the Android version by offering Bitdefender Mobile Security, which for $9.95 a year adds features including an on-install & on-demand scanner, real-time scanning of Web pages and remote security tools for lost or stolen devices.

The App Store expelled Clueful for iOS in late June 2012. Bitdefender declined to specify why Apple ousted the app, citing confidentiality agreements in the iOS developer agreement; Apple also declined to comment, although conventional wisdom suggests Clueful likely violated a section of Apple's App Review Guidelines covering "incorrect diagnostic or other inaccurate device data." Last August, Bitdefender launched a free version of Clueful optimized for the mobile Web.

Clueful arrives on Android amidst mounting concern over the security of open-source platform. Malware attacks on Android devices more than doubled in 2012, security solutions firm NQ Mobile reported last month: In all, more than 32.8 million Android devices were infected in 2012, up from 10.8 million in 2011, representing an increase of more than 200 percent. Sixty-five percent of mobile malware discovered in 2012 falls into the category of Potentially Unwanted Programs--e.g., root exploits, spyware, pervasive adware and Trojans (surveillance hacks). Twenty-eight percent was designed to collect and profit from a user's personal data, and 7 percent was built to prevent the user's device from functioning properly.

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