Speed Reads

App Attack

Researchers successfully hacked Gmail's smartphone app 92 percent of the time

Looks like Google's got some doodling to do.

Researchers from the Universities of Michigan and California are presenting a study at a San Diego cybersecurity conference that shows Gmail's smartphone account is one of the easiest popular apps to hack. They were able to crack into Android phones' Gmail accounts with a 92 percent success rate, reports BBC News.

The academics developed malicious software and then disguised it as an innocuous app that a smartphone owner might choose to download. Once the software was downloaded, the researchers found they could access a smartphone's shared memory, which led to login and password details across a variety of legitimate apps.

"The assumption has always been that these apps can't interfere with each other easily," Shiyun Qian, one of the researchers involved in the study, said. "We show…one app can in fact significantly impact another and result in harmful consequences for the user."

They also tried hacking apps offered by H&R Block, WebMD, Amazon, and Chase Bank. The toughest popular app to hack was Amazon, with a 48 percent success rate. While the study was conducted using only Android phones, researchers think other operating systems such as Windows and iOS are likely vulnerable to the same types of malware.

Google said it welcomed the research because it could help strengthen Android's operating systems, but for now, maybe consider holding off downloading that semi-sketchy wallpaper app. Your current cat picture is totally fine.