Android: Warden reveals the secret of trackers in apps

If you always wanted to know how many and which trackers are used in an app, install the Android app Warden. The application can even remove the trackers on a rooted device.

The open source APP Warden provides information about the use of trackers in AndroidApps. For each app, the tool that Gitlab can download lists the number and type of trackers. With rooted Android smartphones, the app can even deactivate the trackers in the apps. These remain switched off even after an app update. In addition, the app also has a debloat function with which unwanted apps that are installed by the manufacturer by default can be hidden, deactivated or uninstalled.

Warden was developed by XDA senior member WhyOrean, who works behind the Aurora Store, a popular, unofficial open source client for the Google Play Store, is known.

Warden: Statistics on trackers and loggers in Android apps (screenshot: ZDNet.de)

For the analysis of apps, Warden uses a list of trackers and loggers compiled by the French non-profit organization Exodus Privacy. All utilities that are able to log user activities in an application are listed under Logger. The developer points out that not all loggers are nasty, some are used to log users’ activities for legitimate purposes. However, there are a few logging tools such as ACRA and xLog that can send user data to developers without the user’s consent.

Warden: app analysis

In order to be able to display the trackers and log services, Warden must first carry out an analysis of all apps (scanner). The duration of this process depends on the performance of the smartphone and the number of apps. On a Mi 9 with Snapdragon 855, this analysis including system applications takes about seven minutes. Subsequently, data on trackers and log services can be seen under “Stats”.

Warden: Remove tracker

Under “Apps” you can find out which trackers and loggers are used in a specific application. For example, 19 trackers are active in the TV feature film app. The “Components” button displays details about the respective tracking services. If the smartphone is rooted, the trackers can be completely deactivated. This measure has no influence on the use of the app.

Warden: Remove tracker (screenshot: ZDNet.de)

Conclusion: warden

Warden illuminates the machine room of the advertising industry on Android by displaying trackers in apps. Every Android user should install the app to find out which trackers use the apps they use. Unfortunately, the trackers are only deactivated when the smartphone is rooted. Users who use a standard smartphone without admin rights and want to protect themselves from trackers can install on Android Blokada and iOS DNSCloak.

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