The official Android app for COP27 climate summit poses serious security risks

The official Android app for COP27 climate summit poses serious security risks

Security experts have discovered that the Egyptian government’s official smartphone app for the COP27 climate summit doubles as a tool to spy on attendees. What is not clear is whether this was done on purpose.

as such Politico reports(Opens in a new window)Four cybersecurity experts have independently confirmed that Android The app can be used to read users’ emails and messages (even on encrypted services like WhatsApp), listen to conversations, track a device’s location, perform a full device scan, and change the way it works without first getting the user’s permission. The iOS version of the app has not been reviewed by security experts.

Thousands of COP27 attendees have downloaded the app, and policy makers from Canada, France and Germany are already using it. Officials from other governments are strongly advised not to download and use the app due to the potential security risks it poses.

One security expert went so far as to say that “the app is a cyber weapon,” as others found no evidence that the permissions requested by the app are being used to access sensitive information. Google also reviewed the app and found no policy violations but Android apps secretly collect data Not exactly a new phenomenon.

Marwa Fatafta, Digital Rights Leader for the Middle East and North Africa region for access now(Opens in a new window)He believes the app is “a surveillance tool that Egyptian authorities can use as a weapon to track activists, government delegates, and anyone attending COP27.” “The Egyptian government cannot be entrusted with managing people’s personal data due to its poor human rights record and blatant disregard for privacy,” Fatfat continues.

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The app’s privacy notice does little to allay fears that this app is safe to download. By installing it, the Egyptian government gains the right to “access customer accounts for technical, administrative and security reasons.”

COP27 will be held from November 6-18 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Hopefully now attendees will be careful and avoid the official app unless it is required for certain features and can be placed on a burner phone. Anyone who installs it also needs to remember to uninstall it once the climate conference is over.

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