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Wednesday October 26, 2011 11:48 am

Sprint releases update for HTC Android smartphones

Sprint on Tuesday started rolling out an update for Android-based HTC devices that fixes a privacy-related bug.

Users with the EVO 4G, EVO 3D, EVO Shift 4G, EVO Design 4G, EVO View 4G, and HTC Wildfire S will receive an over-the-air update starting today; users can manually install the update right away.

"Sprint worked closely with HTC after reports emerged of a potential issue that could allow malicious third-party apps to compromise data on Android devices made by HTC," the carrier said in a statement. "We urge all users to install the update promptly."

At issue is a recent update to several Android-based HTC devices, which resulted in the installation of tools that could collect a vast amount of personal data without permission. Researcher Trevor Eckhart found that any app that requests android.permission.INTERNET, which is standard for apps that access the Web or show ads, can also access things like location history, phone numbers, SMS data, and a list of user accounts. For more, see the video below.

The glitch was first reported by Android Police's Artem Russakovskii, who said he was "quite speechless" at the findings. In further examining the data, Russakovskii said his EVO 3D exposed information like: network info, including IP addresses; full memory info; active notifications in the notification bar, including notification text; list of installed apps, including permissions used, user ids, versions; and more.

HTC later "concluded that while this HTC software itself does no harm to customers' data, there is a vulnerability that could potentially be exploited by a malicious third-party application," and promised a fix.

An HTC spokesman said other carriers have been rolling out the same update since last week, depending on the carrier and device. The latest over-the-air Gingerbread update from Verizon includes the HTC logger fix. To see if the fix is ready for your device, go to the Settings menu and tap About Phone, System Update, HTC Software update, Android Police said.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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