Google Allo — smart messaging 13.1 (iOS / App Store)

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This application is available for iOS. This app is designed to be a smart messaging app with embedded Google Assistant. The latest build was released on Jun 28, 2017. Our latest check was performed on Mar 26th, 2017

Findings Summary

Our examination revealed total 24 items, where were 7 DAR items and 16 DIT items found. Among DAR items were found 0 worst items, 6 bad items, 1 good item, and 0 best items. Among DIT items were found 0 worst items, 6 bad items, 10 good items, and 0 best items.

Below you find 2 infographics summarizing what we described above. Each image provides information about both DAR and DIT items.

 

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Everything presented below is related to well-known CWEs, such as Sensitive data leakage [CWE-200], Unsafe sensitive data storage [CWE-312], Unsafe sensitive data transmission [CWE-319]. You can read more about it here.

Now let’s go deeper and examine each data item’s protection level.

 

Application Description

Let’s cite the description of this application below:

Google Allo is a smart messaging app that helps you say more and do more. Express yourself better with stickers, Smart Reply, and HUGE emojis & text. Allo brings you the Google Assistant.
Smart Reply
Respond to messages without typing a single word. Smart Reply learns over time and suggests responses to text and photos, in your style.
Ink
Get creative with the photos you send by doodling on them or adding text.
Stickers
Say it all with the perfect sticker. Stickers in Google Allo are designed by independent artists and studios from around the world.
SHOUT or whisper
No more typing in ALL CAPS to get your point across. Say it louder or quieter by changing the size of your text with a quick swipe.
Meet your Google Assistant
Google Allo brings you the Google Assistant. Find restaurants nearby, share videos to watch, and get answers, right in your conversation with friends. Add @google to your group conversation or chat one-on-one with your Assistant. It’s your own personal Google, always ready to help.
Incognito mode
Send messages with end-to-end encryption, use private notifications to help keep your chats more discreet, and control how long your messages stick around with expiring chats.
* Some features not available in all countries

 

Protection levels.

Locally stored data (Data-at-Rest, DAR).

Locally stored data groups include Account Information, Application Information, Credentials Information, Address Book ‘n’ Contact Information, Message Information, Media Information.
The average DAR value is 3.93 points (7.00 points of system protection and 0.86 points of own protection). It is higher than a typical value (3.5 points, where’s 7 points of system protection and 0 points of own protection).

Items’ GROUP #1 with average value 3.50 points (7 points of system protection, 0 points of own protection) means data protection levels have following definitions. Frankly talking, extra data found that shouldn’t be accessed where system protection level means – root/jailbreak is required but not possible without wiping device data, and own protection level means – stored as is.

– Account Data (‘Account Information’ Group) – Basic info about account like name, a list of sub-account (e.g. financial or other) and some linked data like a phone number. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any info related to profiles, basic credential IDs like email or username or phone number plus some more info depends on applications,

– Application Configs (‘Application Information’ Group) – Different configuration files created by your app, perhaps app permissions. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any info related to the app, app settings, including installed apps or installers,

– Credentials (IDs) (‘Credentials Information’ Group) – Only account IDs like app or 3rd party user IDs including emails, phone number, usernames, etc. (depends on apps). This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any types of credentials including basic (IDs only), passwords, tokens, etc.,

– Contact Short Profile (‘Address Book ‘n’ Contact Information’ Group) – Name, Email ID, Phone number of contacts. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be info locally stored, cached or transferred over the network and belong to this application if it’s social even,

– Messages (‘Message Information’ Group) – Different types of messages, conversations, except for SMS, MMS but including recipient and sender IDs and attachments. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be all message, including SMS, MMS, social and IM messages with or without attachments,

– Contact Short Profile (‘Message Information’ Group) – Name, Email ID, Phone number of contacts. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be all message, including SMS, MMS, social and IM messages with or without attachments

Items’ GROUP #2 with average value 6.50 points (7 points of system protection, 6 points of own protection) means data protection levels have following definitions. Frankly talking, protection and privacy issues are still possible but might involve interaction with an app code where system protection level means – root/jailbreak is required but not possible without wiping device data, and own protection level means – data is not available in backups.

– Screen Snapshots (‘Media Information’ Group) – Screenshots of your device screen running certain apps; common as an iOS app multitasking feature (app swipes) or browser tab swipes. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any data like photo, image, video, audio

Also, keep in mind, using jailbroken device means the system protection level is 0 points and you’re using out-of-date iOS < 8.3 the system protection level is 2 points. If some data marked as shareable via iTunes, then the system protection level is 4 points.

Transferred data (Data-in-Transit, DIT).

Transferred data groups include Device Information, Social Information, Account Information, Application Information, Credentials Information, Message Information, Address Book ‘n’ Contact Information.
The average DIT value is 5.13 points (5.00 points of system protection and 5.25 points of own protection). It is higher than a typical value (4 points, where’s 4 points of system protection and 4 points of own protection).

Items’ GROUP #1 with average value 4.50 points (5 points of system protection, 4 points of own protection) means data protection levels have following definitions. Frankly talking, data available if it’s allowed only and may require user action where system protection level means – some techniques are available to developers to keep connection bypassing system settings, like proxy settings, etc., and own protection level means – bypassed by fake/stolen root certificates.

– Environment (‘Device Information’ Group) – Different info about the environment of the device including apps lists, device info, OS name and versions, updates, a list of users, network details, etc. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be details about your device,

– Device Data (‘Device Information’ Group) – Device ID, Device Name, Device OS Name and Version, and jailbroken/root status. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be details about your device,

– Locale ‘n’ TimeZone (‘Device Information’ Group) – Details about your locale, languages, time zone, country and so on. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be details about your device,

– Media Data (‘Social Information’ Group) – Any info like images, audios, videos, media notes, etc. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be info grabbed from 3rd party social networks,

– GEO Data (‘Message Information’ Group) – Any GEO info stored as plain text referred to the places or tracked activity. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be all message, including SMS, MMS, social and IM messages with or without attachments,

– GEO Snapshots (‘Message Information’ Group) – Image-based snapshots of geodata info referred to the places. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be all message, including SMS, MMS, social and IM messages with or without attachments

Items’ GROUP #2 with average value 5.50 points (5 points of system protection, 6 points of own protection) means data protection levels have following definitions. Frankly talking, data is not available all the time or partially accessed where system protection level means – some techniques are available to developers to keep connection bypassing system settings, like proxy settings, etc., and own protection level means – SSL pinning (can be patched).

– Account Data (‘Account Information’ Group) – Basic info about account like name, a list of sub-account (e.g. financial or other) and some linked data like a phone number. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any info related to profiles, basic credential IDs like email or username or phone number plus some more info depends on applications,

– Media Data (‘Account Information’ Group) – Any info like images, audios, videos, media notes, etc. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any info related to profiles, basic credential IDs like email or username or phone number plus some more info depends on applications,

– Media URLs (‘Account Information’ Group) – URLs related to media info such as stream media or profile’s media, etc. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any info related to profiles, basic credential IDs like email or username or phone number plus some more info depends on applications,

– Application Configs (‘Application Information’ Group) – Different configuration files created by your app, perhaps app permissions. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any info related to the app, app settings, including installed apps or installers,

– Credentials (IDs) (‘Credentials Information’ Group) – Only account IDs like app or 3rd party user IDs including emails, phone number, usernames, etc. (depends on apps). This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any types of credentials including basic (IDs only), passwords, tokens, etc.,

– Credentials (Tokens) (‘Credentials Information’ Group) – Different tokens used to get access to your account, except for passwords but including app or 3rd party tokens, secret keys, etc. (usually give full access to your account). This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any types of credentials including basic (IDs only), passwords, tokens, etc.,

– Messages (‘Message Information’ Group) – Different types of messages, conversations, except for SMS, MMS but including recipient and sender IDs and attachments. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be all message, including SMS, MMS, social and IM messages with or without attachments,

– Credentials (Access IDs) (‘Credentials Information’ Group) – Different tokens used to get access to your account, except for passwords but including app or 3rd party tokens, secret keys, etc. (usually don’t give full access to your account because based on permissions linked to these access tokens). This data item related to mentioned group meant to be any types of credentials including basic (IDs only), passwords, tokens, etc.,

– Contact Short Profile (‘Message Information’ Group) – Name, Email ID, Phone number of contacts. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be all message, including SMS, MMS, social and IM messages with or without attachments,

– Contact Profile (‘Address Book ‘n’ Contact Information’ Group) – Full info about contacts including name email id, phone numbers, gender, linked accounts, geodata, stream and social activity. This data item related to mentioned group meant to be info locally stored, cached or transferred over the network and belong to this application if it’s social even

Keep in mind if you’re using out-of-date iOS < 9.0, the system level equals 2 points instead of 4. It means your data can be stolen without involving your actions.

Privacy Policy

Full application privacy policy is available here.

You may find privacy policy details proceeding the link above to compare developer’s vision on data protection with our results.