Tesco Bank mobile app won’t run with Tor Orbot tool installed

Pierluigi Paganini June 18, 2016

This week it was discovered that the Tesco Android Bank app won’t run with the Orbot privacy tool installed on the user’s mobile device.

I always highlighted the importance of censorship and internet monitoring, architectures like the Tor network are much more than evil tools in the hands of crooks, but probably someone has a different opinion.

Tesco Bank app won’t allow the execution of its mobile app in the presence of the Tor client on the user’s device.

The news was revealed this week, Android users have to uninstall the privacy software if they want to use the mobile bank app.

Tesco’s mobile banking app refuses to run on handsets where the Tor app is also installed, it emerged this weekend.

The Tesco banking app once in execution checks for the presence of the popular privacy tool and asks users to remove it.

Who do @Tesco think they are, preventing free speech and internet security? @torproject @tescobankhelp @Android pic.twitter.com/xVcBmyjVKN

— Marcus Davage (@spufidoo) 17 giugno 2016

The security expert Marcus Davage shared an image of the alert displayed on an Android running the Tor Project’s Orbot Android client. The Tesco mobile app requests the complete uninstall of the privacy tool.

Why does the Android App request ‘Super User’ or ‘Root access’ when downloading from Google Play?

It seems that Tesco has adopted this measure due to security reasons, according to an advisory published by the company the Android app when launched is able to detect if the mobile device has been rooted or infected by a malware.

“We ask for root access so that we can tell if your device has been rooted. This is where the manufacture settings have been overridden.” reads the advisory published by Tesco.

“We combine this with other information about your device and location in order to determine if your device has been stolen, hacked or infected with malware.”

Evidently also the popular Tor privacy tool triggers an alert.

Which options have Android users that need to run the Tor software?

Today Android mobile users can download and install two different mobile apps, the Orbot and the Orfox browser, Orbot has been downloaded more than five million times.

Tesco app asks remove Orbot

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Tesco mobile app, banking)

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