Mobile phone applications are huge business. There are millions of apps available for every conceivable purpose; some are useful, some are seriously irritating (the electronic vuvuzela, anyone?!). But people sometimes forget that apps are just like programs for computers: they don’t always do what you expect them to.

Apple vs. Android

I’m not a big fan of the way that Apple manage their app store but it does have one advantage over many others – by checking every application submitted, Apple are undoubtedly preventing applications from getting anywhere near iPhones, iPods and iPads that may compromise the platform or user account data. The advantage of doing this has been highlighted today with a report by a blog post from Lookout, a mobile phone security company. They analysed an Android wallpaper application and found that, despite its benign appearance, it was sending user data, including phone numbers, subscriber data and other details back to the developers.

While the author of the blog post is keen to stress that there is no evidence of deliberately malicious activity, it is a concern that some apps may be doing things you aren’t expecting.