Beware Xiaomi Could Be Spying on Your Browsing Activity Even on Incognito Mode.
Xiaomi is a Chinese based smartphone developer, growing rapidly and is currently the 4th best smartphone maker in terms of Market share after Apple, Samsung and Huawei. Xiaomi’s greatest strategy is selling products that are cheap but have the same or better specs than other Higher-end devices. However, the sweet deal could cost you your privacy, not only on your browser but also your app use. According to Gabi Cirlig his Redmi Note 8 was tracking much of his phone activities and then sending the data to its remote servers in Beijing. While being interviewed by Forbes, the seasoned cybersecurity researcher, was worried that the amount of data being harvested from his device put his identity as well as private life in jeopardy.
Not only was the device’s default browser saving all the sites that he visited even on private incognito mode, but also it recorded the folders that he opened and to the screens that he swapped. The data collected was then sent to servers in Singapore and Russia though the Web was hosted by a domain in Beijing. Cirlig suspected that the privacy issue ran across a number of other Xiaomi models since they had the same browser code. The allegations were backed up by Andrew Tierney, a cybersecurity researcher requested to conduct further investigations by Forbes, who added that the Mi browsers found on Google play store were collecting the same data too.
In its response, the company argued that the findings were untrue even after being provided the video provided by Crilig adding that privacy and security is a major concern. The company’s spokesperson however confirmed that they were collecting data which was anonymized and had user’s consent. The Smartphone giant went ahead to claim that any data transferred to third users was highly encrypted but according to Cirlig, the data could be easily decrypted. When the company was questioned on Crilig’s concern on his app use monitoring since every time he opened an app data would be sent to remote servers, the smartphone manufacturer did not respond.
According to the two researchers, this type of data harvest is worrying as it is way worse than other mainstream browsers. According to Crilig his music player app was also collecting data from his phone. Now one thing is clear; not only is Xiaomi watching but also listening.
Xiaomi has also published a blog on how and when its collects URLs visited by its users. To find out more read here.