About The Baidu Company
Baidu, Inc. is a Chinese multinational technology company. It specializes in Internet-related services and products and artificial intelligence. In other words, it’s an Internet company. It has its headquarters in Beijing’s Haidian District. Further, it is one of the largest AI and Internet companies around the world. Robin Li and Eric Xu founded Baidu on 1 January 2000.
Two Baidu Apps Leaking Sensitive Users’ Data
Two of Baidu apps namely Baidu Maps and Baidu Search Box were leaking sensitive users’ data. Earlier in October, both the apps were removed from Google Play Store. But, only last week the Baidu Search Box app made it back to the Google Play Store. Although Baidu Maps is still unavailable. These two apps have had 6 million downloads jointly only in the US. Baidu has been collecting users’ data without asking for their consent.
Furthermore, the researchers at Palo Alto Networks detected Push- a Baidu software development kit (SDK) sending users’ data to a Chinese server. The ‘sensitive’ users’ data included phone model, IMSI number, and MAC address. Though the leaked data looks harmless. But, MAC address and IMSI numbers allow one to track a person even if they change the phone. This is the very reason why the issue of data leakage of Baidu apps is so serious.
Google Play Store Removes Both The Apps
It is reported that data of over 1.4 billion users were exposed. Also, it became open to cybercrime and surveillance. When Palo Alto cautioned about the data leakage from Baidu Apps, Google Play Store removed the apps after their own investigations.
There were some additional violations of Baidu apps. But neither Google Play Store nor Palo Alto has revealed them yet. As issues with Baidu Search Box were amended, so it is back on Google Play Store. On the other hand, Baidu Maps still has issues. A Baidu spokesperson reassured that the app will be back on Google Play Store by early December.
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