22
May
clueful

We briefly touched yesterday on Bitdefender's new privacy protection utility Clueful, but today we'd like to take a closer look at everything the app has to offer, along with what makes it stand out from the crowd.

For those who may not have caught yesterday's post (where we're also giving away two Galaxy S4 i9500s and two HTC Ones), Clueful is best described as a "personal privacy consultant" that offers full details of what your apps are actually doing behind the scenes. This includes details about which apps can potentially send your personal information and/or identity to third parties, track your location, have access to "sensitive data," show "very intrusive" ads, and much more.

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At first blush, that sounds like a slew of other tools that simply read each app's set of permissions and which SDKs they may be using. Clueful takes this approach a step further however, as each app's activity is checked in Bitdefenders labs (i.e. the cloud), and a detailed report of what the app is capable of doing is provided to the user. Using this information, it applies a rating – high risk, moderate risk, or low risk – to the application. It then uses these rankings to give the device an overall "Privacy Score," which provides an at-a-glance look at how protected you really are. It's all very intuitive and easy to parse, which is one of the best things about Clueful.

There is also a simple way to filter which apps may be doing specific tasks, like using intrusive ads or sending login credentials over an unencrypted connection (that's a huge no-no) by using the "filter" tool. Once you've found the applications that make you shake your head in disgust, a tap of the name will tell you why Clueful gave it the ranking that it did. For example, there is one "high risk" app on the Nexus 7 we used to test the application; naturally, we want to know why. Turns out it's not so pretty:

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We actually weren't aware that BatteryDash was using Airpush; thankfully, we were able to uninstall the app directly from Clueful. You can also share your findings and publicly shame potential privacy spies, which is actually a nice touch. Immediately after removing BatteryDash from the system, the Privacy Score jumped by 29 points. Instant gratification!

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Clueful also made us privy to some other questionable activity, like the fact that Digitally Imported Radio may send your login credentials over an unsecured connection. Our own Justin Case analyzed the app and found that it actually sends login credentials over https, but the sign up process is done over an http connection, so Clueful indeed accurately flagged a security flaw. Removing the app instantly gave us another 10 point Privacy Score boost.

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Clueful doesn't stop after the first scan, either. It keeps tabs on all current applications, as well as any future applications and updates for existing apps that are installed. If you install something questionable (or an app suddenly gets a new "feature" that may compromise privacy), Clueful will be the first to let you know. That's good lookin' out.

Overall, Clueful is a useful, intuitive, and intelligent tool that everyone who's concerned about privacy should have installed. And for the low cost of free, there's no reason not to try it out. You never know what you may find your apps doing, after all.

  • Wilfredo Alarcon

    Question. So this is a tool to be installed ON TOP of your antivirus app or this something that accompanies your install of bit-defender anitvirus?

    • Wilfredo Alarcon

      NVM. Standalone. And it's GREAT!
      Shared with all my contacts JIC.

  • Tomáš D.

    Worst apps on my N7 - Angry Birds Space and Bad Piggies - for leaking my IMEI to ad networks -_-

    • Ray

      I bitched about this on Google Play and Twitter some time ago. No reply from Angry Birds about it though.

      • RaptorOO7

        Considering I have paid for EVERY Angry Birds version and some are now free, I am stuck with ad based versions which is BS. I expect to be ad free hence the reason those who know want to ROOT and run AdBlock Plus or some other ad blocking app.

  • S. Ali

    You're using an Android phone, there is no expectation of privacy. Get in iPhone if you want to be safe.

    • Wilfredo Alarcon

      lol just check for "data.flurry.com/aap.do" on their apps.
      Haha.

      Angry birds send IMEI across all platforms.

    • ScottColbert

      Not sure if you're serious or just ignorant. Or a bit of both. There's no phone that will offer total privacy-not even two cans and a piece of string.

  • http://www.mixedtopics.com/ Michael Sommer

    Sponsored posts? YIKES - RSS feed dropped!

    • Ray

      What are you referring too?

      • http://www.mixedtopics.com/ Michael Sommer

        Scroll up to the headline and you know.

        • Ray

          DAMN! I didn't see that earlier. This is a little worrying.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            We're being very upfront about sponsored posts, which are very rare and are always marked as such. You will always know if something is being sponsored - it's a way for us to get some extra revenue to fund the site (where you read content for free).

          • Ray

            Good to hear Artem - thanks a lot for clarifying. :)

            And don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the content you and your team provide and completely understand the reasoning for sponsored posts. I jumped the gun.

            Always enjoyed AP.

  • Ray

    I like this app. It's simple and provides some really good information, but does it really need to be running in the background eating memory?

  • Jerecho

    Has anyone tested the battery usage of Clueful? What's it looking like, guys?

    That's always one of the things I'm leery about with "monitoring" apps - the trade-off in battery rundown.

    Would appreciate if one of the AP team testers could put up the battery impact.

  • Indranil Nandi

    nice

  • TheCraiggers

    Am I the only one that finds it ironic that Bitdefender requests the "read phone status and identity" permission?

    I wonder if it will flag itself.

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