Sarahah uploading entire contacts book to their servers

29 August 2017, 12:21 | Myrtle Hill

Sarahah Wants Your Contact Details for a Non-Existing Feature

Hit App Sarahah Quietly Uploads Your Address Book

The new app, Saraha which gets people to leave anonymous messages to other users has apparently been collecting users contact lists without their permission.

The app, which is fast gaining popularity has been downloaded by over 18 million people from Apple and Google's online stores, according to estimates, making it the number three most downloaded free software title for iPhones and iPads. Created by Saudi Arabian developer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, the app is aimed to help people identify their strengths and weaknesses.

The above occurrence clears that the app is somewhere interested in your contacts. He now claims that the functionality has removed from the server and the data request will be removed in a future release. So why is the app storing the contacts to the company's server? The site doesn't ask for or require access to your contacts in the digital address books for you to use Sarahah.

However, according to Bishop Fox security researcher Zachary Julian, the app collects all of your email and phone contact details and uploads them without permission. Julian reportedly found that the same occurs on iPhone, and that the app will also re-download all of your contacts if you haven't accessed it on your phone in some time. If Sarahah did ever begin showing which of your contacts are on its network, as advertised, this would lead to a new problem-it would make it far easier to deduce who is sending messages.

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According to Julian, the app, quietly harvests and uploads its user's phone contacts to the company's servers including all phone numbers and email addresses stored in one's device's address books. The same logic applies to a users personal life where it gives a channel for friends or family to be honest with you.

Most of the mobile applications ask permission to access contacts but in Sarahah there's no feature where these contacts are required as the user can't search for a friend or acquaintance using the contact information.

On a related note, it is very common for Android apps to secretly team up and steal your data.

The primary argument against Sarahah is the fact that they are "stealing" your data because the app does not have a feature which would need access to your contacts. Even if declined, users can continue to use the app. Over 54 per cent of Android users are using older versions which do not have these permissions, and users need to be savvy enough to know where to find app permissions are (Settings Apps Gear button App Permissions).



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