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I have a banking app installed, but when I tried to update it, it asked me for permissions to access browsing history and the information about apps running on the device.

Why would a banking app need permission for this? I am not sure if it'd add any extra security layer. Can it be just for advertisement purposes?

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    This answer looks relevant FYI. If I had to guess, based on that answer, it would be that they are requesting android.permission.GET_TASKS to make sure nothing potentially malicious is running (e.g. a screen grabber) – Marie Aug 16 '18 at 12:01
  • @Marie That explains apps permission. But what about browsing history? – A J Aug 16 '18 at 13:14
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    Can it be just for advertisement purposes?, if your bank starts showing you ads, it's time to change banks imo. :-) – Nomad Aug 16 '18 at 13:37
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    @AJ According to the answer I linked the application may not actually be requesting browsing history. It shows that one generic message if any one of 4 permissions are used. – Marie Aug 16 '18 at 19:37
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When they ask, it can look a little bit intrusive, but it's usually* for security reasons:

  • Some banks will perform some checks for root access/jail-break (iOs) devices, one of those needs the permission. (Some banks will let you continue using the app and some others no if the check fails, there's no consensus by now because the check is not deterministic, see https://stackoverflow.com/a/3578773/2325522

  • The information about the apps/processes/history is really handy to detect/trace an infection/account compromise if it's related to a "bad android app". It's gold for the blue team of the bank. (i.e. They just cross the list of apps to check if something "weird" is installed/running/recently visited on the compromised account phone).

*I can't say if they do/don't do something more with the gathered information.

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