Technology

Child monitoring app pulled in S Korea

young woman in sunglasses checking her mobile Image copyright Getty Images

Smart Sheriff, a popular app in South Korea for monitoring children's online activities has been pulled.

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) has removed it from the Google Play store and is advising existing users to find alternatives.

South Korea mandated in April that all children's phones must be monitored.

However, the regulator said the decision to suspend the app had been made prior to the release of a damning report about its security.

The KCC told news agency AP that the decision had been made because of the abundance of free apps now available.

Smart Sheriff had been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times inside the country and was created by a group of telecoms companies known as the Korean Mobile Internet Business Association (Moiba).

Two reports issued, one by the University of Toronto and the other by software auditing firm Cure53, described Smart Sheriff's security as "catastrophic".

The report authors found that children's personal details were not stored securely and that the parental filters applied were easy to disable.

"Smart Sheriff is the kind of babysitter that leaves the doors unlocked and throws a party where everyone is invited," said independent researcher Colin Anderson, who worked on the report, at the time.

Moiba said the vulnerabilities had already been fixed by the time the report was published.

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