Reports of a security vulnerability with SwiftKey surfaced on the internet recently. SwiftKey users reported that they started seeing email addresses and phone numbers of strangers on their mobile devices. While the Microsoft-owned company has declined there was a problem with its security, they have went ahead and shut down the cloud synchronization feature of the app.
Over the past few days, users of the keyboard app complained that the next-word prediction bar on the app has been suggesting typing the email addresses and phone numbers of other people. There have also been some users who reported that their language settings were taken over and changed without notice. One particular user complained on Reddit that the app automatically predicted German words when he used it. But because he has never typed German his entire life, he found this odd. Not to mention, the app suggested an email ID to him on the email field. The user expressed concern about his suggestions ending up on somebody else's SwiftKey app. Another user complained that he was getting NSFW porn search suggestions when he typed on his keyboard.
The feature of the app that was particularly pointed out was the psychic keyboard, which managed to store past keystrokes in the cloud. The technology then uses these stored words to suggest them specifically to the user before he starts typing them. Basically, the feature is a personally tailored text-prediction system. This particular feature is what made SwiftKey such a hit among users.
Acknowledging these complaints, the company behind SwiftKey has released a statement saying that they discovered a bug in the software. Despite this acknowledgement, they promise that there was no reason to panic as it wasn't a security matter. The company did, however, promise that they are already working quickly to fix the inconvenience this feature has brought about. For now, the cloud sync service on the keyboard app has been switched off. The company also shared that they are currently updating their applications so that email address predictions are switched off. So far, the company shares that a major number of SwiftKey users are not affected by the bug.
As SwiftKey is being tended to, the company shares that it is not possible to back up the language model right now. They will be releasing more information about the bug once an update is available.