Many popular iPhone apps from airlines, clothing stores and travel sites may be viewing your on-screen activity without you knowing.
An investigation has revealed that this data is sent back to app developers to help improve their services.
Major companies including Expedia, Hollister and Air Canada, are monitoring what you do in their apps, including every click, tap and swipe.
One expert fears that data from these session replays may not be sufficiently masked to protect sensitive data.
However, there is no suggestion that Expedia and Hollister are failing to meet this standard.
The investigation, by Zack Whittaker for TechCrunch, found several popular iPhone apps use Glassbox, a customer experience analytics firm, which lets developers embed ‘session replay’ technology into their apps.
The company recently tweeted: ‘Imagine if your website or mobile app could see exactly what your customers do in real time, and why they did it?’
App developers record the screen and play them back to see what people did in the app to see what people liked, disliked, or if an error occurred.
This means that every tap, button push and keyboard entry is recorded, screenshotted and sent back to the app developers.
This means payment information or passport and visa details could potentially be viewed by third parties.
The App Analyst, a mobile expert who writes about apps on his blog, claims that Air Canada did not properly mask its session replays.
He suggests this may be the reason for Air Canada’s iPhone app data breach which exposed 20,000 profiles in August 2018.
‘This gives Air Canada employees — and anyone else capable of accessing the screenshot database — to see unencrypted credit card and password information,’ the App Analyst told TechCrunch.
The App Analyst looked at a sample of apps that Glassbox listed on its website as customers and ‘success stories’.
Using Charles Proxy, a tool used to intercept the data sent from Glassbox, the researcher was able to examine data being transmitted from devices.
The App Analyst found that some apps were not masking the data properly.
He also found that none of them said they were recording the user’s activity or that it was sending them to another company’s servers.
‘Since this data is often sent back to Glassbox servers I wouldn’t be shocked if they have already had instances of them capturing sensitive banking information and passwords,’ he said.
Not every app was leaking masked data and companies like Expedia and Hotels.com were capturing the data but sending it back to a server on their own domain.
A spokeperson for Glassbox told Mail Online:
‘Glassbox customers use our solution to capture data in order to improve their respective online customer experiences and protect their customers from a compliance perspective.
‘The data collected by Glassbox customers is only captured via their apps, and is neither shared with any third parties, nor enriched through other external sources.
‘All captured data via our solution is highly secured, encrypted, and solely belongs to the customers we support.
‘Glassbox’s robust masking capabilities enable our customers to manage and configure the recording feature within our solution to ensure they don’t record data which they are not permitted to record; and restrict access to recorded data to authorised users, coupled with a full audit log of every user accessing the customer’s system.’
By Victoria Bell for Mailonline