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Many Presidential Primary Apps Have a Data Problem

Voters Cast Ballots In The Super Tuesday ElectionVoters Cast Ballots In The Super Tuesday Election
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas and 2016 presidential candidate, center, casts his ballot at a polling station in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. On Super Tuesday, more delegates will be awarded than on any other day of the presidential race. About half of the delegates needed for a Republican candidate to win the nomination are at stake, plus about a third for Democrats. Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesMatthew Busch — Bloomberg via Getty Images

There are more apps related to the upcoming presidential primaries than ever, but that doesn’t mean they are secure.

A report released Monday by cyber security firm Symantec said that over 50% of 1,200 Android apps related to the presidential primary expose sensitive user data. Additionally, the researchers found that almost 25 percent of the most popular apps with over one million downloads could leave user data exposed to hackers.

Some of the sensitive data that could be leaked from these apps include email addresses, social network user names, GPS coordinates, device model or operating system details, and phone numbers attached to these devices. This data “could be intercepted by attackers and shared with third parties,” the report added.

Users put themselves at risk to have their data exposed when downloading apps from an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. The report said for users to be wary of apps that ask them for more information than they may be comfortable sharing.

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Although most of these presidential primary apps that expose data are unofficial and not directly connected to the presidential primary campaigns, the researchers discovered that the official apps for Republican nominees Governor John Kasich and Senator Ted Cruz appear to expose personal data.

From the report:

In the case of the official John Kasich 2016 mobile app, every app you have installed on your device and your location may be exposed. In the case of the official Ted Cruz “Cruz Crew” app, your mobile device details and unique IMSI identification may be exposed.

The security firm Veracode recently found vulnerabilities in Ted Cruz’s official mobile app that could lead to eavesdroppers discovering sensitive user information. After the Veracode report was made public, the Cruz campaign said it would fix the holes, according to an Associated Press report.

The Symantec (SYMC) report didn’t name any specific presidential primary apps that could be exposing data except the two official apps from Kasich and Cruz.

Additionally, the Symantec report said that 75% of the 1,200 presidential primary apps they studied are related to Donald Trump.

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In late March, mobile marketing firm Sensor Tower released a report that declaring the most popular presidential primary app was a game called “Trump Dump.” The app, which was downloaded by 1.8 million people and is unrelated to the Trump campaign, involves a bird that defecates on the reality television star.