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New permission-based app blocks snoopers

The APEFS app was developed at the Department of Electrotechnology and Computer Science at the University of Siegen.

APEFS is the abbreviation for Android Permission Filter System. This is a free app that helps optimize data protection on Android devices. It enables users to protect the personal data on their Smartphones from “snooping apps”. These dangerous apps go unnoticed while spying on data and secretly using services incurring costs. For example, they activate phone calls and send SMS texts, which the user only finds out about, because they appear on the next phone bill.

The APEFS was developed at the Chair for Data Communication Systems at the University of Siegen. Eduard Boos, a Bachelor student in computer science at the University of Siegen, developed the app as part of his degree project. The app can filter other apps by detecting suspicious patterns in searches and charts, thus facilitating a controlled install of the apps. To do so, the user enters filter criteria supplied by the Siegen developers that match his security requirements e.g. Internet access code, telephone calls, SMS messages, emails etc. From the word go, the APEFS refuses permission to apps that are suspect from the user’s viewpoint. The new app takes over from the user to read a partly unclear and incomprehensible authorized access list, thus preventing any nasty surprises. Saving time is also a positive side-effect. The APEFS settings can be adjusted to meet the user’s requirement so he or she can align filter and search options. The app can also be used on other apps, which are already installed, and possibly to find “black sheep”. An email address has been set up to deal with queries: apefs@eti-uni-siegen.de. The direct link to the app is here.