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Alibaba-Owned Mobile Browser A Security Risk?


According to Reuters, UC Browser, which is owned by Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA), has major security issues. A study by Canadian technology research group Citizen Lab has shown that the English and Chinese-language versions of the popular mobile web browser put users’ sensitive personal data at risk.

The Issue

Citizen Lab claims that information such as location, search details, and mobile subscriber and device numbers of UC Browser users could be easily accessed by third parties. Citizen Lab notes that this security vulnerability “represents a privacy risk for users because it allows anyone with access to the data traffic to identify users and their devices and collect their private search data.”

Related Link: Alibaba Shares Keep Rallying

Alibaba Responds

Alibaba spokesperson Bob Christie says that the issues were immediately fixed in an update as soon as Citizen Lab brought them to Alibaba’s attention back in April and that users are no longer at risk.

“We take security very seriously and we do everything possible to protect our users,” Christie added.

How Dangerous Was The Problem?

While UC Browser might not be a household name to many Americans, it is the most popular mobile web browser in China and India. The Citizen Lab report indicates that UC Browser has half a billion registered users worldwide. Citizen Lab also claims that the Chinese-language version of the browser was even more vulnerable than the English version.

Buyer’s Remorse?

Security issues such as these were likely not what Alibaba had in mind when the company paid more than $1 billion for UCWeb, maker of UC Browser, last year.

At the time, the buyout represented the largest Chinese Internet merger in history.


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Posted-In: Alibaba Citizen Lab UC BrowserNews Rumors Tech

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