Android application permissions and associated risk described in layman’s terms.

This is my take on Android Permissions. In this article I’ll try to describe permissions which are often associated with security or other risk and very often used by applications available in Google Play market.

High Risk

android.permission.READ_PHONE_STATE : Potential Danger: Access to unique identification numbers of your device (IMEI, IMSI & Google 64bit ID).
android.permission.MODIFY_PHONE_STATE : Potential Danger: Access to power and mmi state modifications.
android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO : Potential Danger: Eavesdropping on phone calls and other voice based communication!
android.permission.PROCESS_OUTGOING_CALLS : Potential Danger: Can monitor what phone numbers you call and collect other personal info!
android.permission.ACCOUNT_MANAGER : Potential Danger: Gives access to account manager and device accounts.
android.permission.BRICK : Potential Danger: Can remotely disable your device (very dangerous)!
android.permission.CLEAR_APP_CACHE : Potential Danger: Can clear the cache of other installed apps.
android.permission.CLEAR_APP_USER_DATA : Potential Danger: Can delete personal user data.
android.permission.CONTROL_LOCATION_UPDATES : Potential Danger: Enabling or disabling of location notifications!
android.permission.DELETE_CACHE_FILES : Potential Danger: Can delete any or all cache files.
android.permission.DELETE_PACKAGES : Potential Danger: Can delete any of your installed apps.
android.permission.HARDWARE_TEST : Potential Danger: Allows access to hardware peripherals.
android.permission.KILL_BACKGROUND_PROCESSES : Potential Danger: Can close any running app!
android.permission.SIGNAL_PERSISTENT_PROCESSES : Potential Danger: Could send unwanted signals to other applications!
android.permission.UPDATE_DEVICE_STATS : Potential Danger: Could change collected device statistics (battery stats, etc.).
android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS : Potential Danger: Can change your device system settings.
android.permission.WRITE_SETTINGS : Potential Danger: Could modify or corrupt your system configuration.
android.permission.WRITE_SMS : Potential Danger: Could lure you into sending SMS to for-pay numbers costing money.
android.permission.READ_SMS : Potential Danger: Gives read all your text messages.
android.permission.CALL_PHONE : Potential Danger: Allows an app to call all phone numbers (except emergency phone numbers).
android.permission.SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW : Potential Danger: Allows an app to show a popup window on top of other apps.
android.permission.READ_SOCIAL_STREAM : Potential Danger: Allow an app to read updates from social networking apps like Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
android.permission.AUTHENTICATE_ACCOUNTS : Potential Danger: Allows an app to authenticate credentials and could trick you into revealing your password.
android.permission.READ_ATTACHMENT : Potential Danger: Could read highly sensitive personal or financial information from your email attachments.
android.permission.RECEIVE_MMS : Potential Danger: Could read your MMS messages and gather highly sensitive personal information.

Medium Risk

android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION : Potential Danger: Allows an app to determine your approximate location.
android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION : Potential Danger: Allows an app to determine your precise location.
android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE : Potential Danger: Can view the status of device networks.
android.permission.ACCESS_WIFI_STATE : Potential Danger: Allows an app to view Wi-Fi status and information.
android.permission.CHANGE_WIFI_STATE : Potential Danger: Can connect or disconnect Wi-Fi connections.
android.permission.DEVICE_POWER","Potential Danger: Can turn your device on or off.
android.permission.FORCE_BACK","Potential Danger: Can force force close any foreground activity and force it back
android.permission.GET_ACCOUNTS","Potential Danger: Allows access the list of device accounts.
android.permission.INSTALL_PACKAGES","Potential Danger: Can install or update any Android package.
android.permission.MODIFY_AUDIO_SETTINGS","Potential Danger: Can modify device audio settings (volume, routing, etc.).
android.permission.MOUNT_FORMAT_FILESYSTEMS : Potential Danger: Could format removable storage
android.permission.MOUNT_UNMOUNT_FILESYSTEMS : Potential Danger: Can mount or unmount removable file systems!
android.permission.NFC","Potential Danger:  Gives full access to Near-Field communication options.
android.permission.READ_CALL_LOG : Potential Danger: Can read your call log.
android.permission.READ_CALENDAR : Potential Danger: Can read calendar events or in combination with other permissions send it to other people.
android.permission.READ_CONTACTS : Potential Danger: Can read all contacts stored on your device.
android.permission.READ_HISTORY_BOOKMARKS : Potential Danger: Can see what website you visit and read your bookmarks.
android.permission.REBOOT : Potential Danger: Can force the device reboot.
android.permission.USE_CREDENTIALS : Potential Danger:  Could request authentication tokens and use the authentication credentials.
android.permission.USE_SIP","Potential Danger: Could make or receive unwanted Internet calls.
android.permission.WRITE_CALENDAR : Potential Danger: Can add or change the events on your calendar.
android.permission.WRITE_CALL_LOG : Potential Danger: Could be used to hide malicious behaviour.
android.permission.WRITE_CONTACTS : Potential Danger: Can modify your contacts.
android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE : Potential Danger: Can write to SD card.
android.permission.WRITE_HISTORY_BOOKMARKS : Potential Danger: Can modify your browser history.
android.permission.WRITE_PROFILE : Potential Danger: Could write new data into personal user profile.
android.permission.GET_TASKS : Potential Danger: Allows an app to find out what other applications are running on the device.
android.permission.ACCESS_LOCATION_EXTRA_COMMANDS : Potential Danger: Gives access to location connected provider commands.
android.permission.ACCESS_MOCK_LOCATION : Potential Danger: Can pretend access from a different geographical location.
android.permission.BLUETOOTH_ADMIN : Potential Danger: Can discover and pair bluetooth devices even without your knowledge.
android.permission.CHANGE_CONFIGURATION : Potential Danger: Allows an application to modify your current configurations.
android.permission.DISABLE_KEYGUARD : Potential Danger: Allows an app to disable your Password/PIN/Slide lock screen.
android.permission.READ_SYNC_STATS : Potential Danger: Allows an app to read synchronization stats of your device.
android.permission.SUBSCRIBED_FEEDS_READ : Potential Danger: Allows an app to access RSS feeds you have subscribed to.
android.permission.SUBSCRIBED_FEEDS_WRITE : Potential Danger: Allows an app to access RSS feeds you have subscribed to.
android.permission.WRITE_SYNC_SETTINGS : Potential Danger: Could change how your account data are synced and backed up.
android.permission.ADD_VOICEMAIL : Potential Danger: Gives access to Android new centralized voicemail system.
android.permission.INSTALL_DRM : Potential Danger: Could control DRM and access to your books, audio, video, etc.
com.android.providers.im.permission.READ_ONLY : Potential Danger: Could reading instant messages (Google Talk, etc.).

Low Risk

com.android.vending.BILLING : Allows an application to directly bill you for services through Google Play.
android.permission.BATTERY_STATS : Potential Danger: Can modify collected battery statistics.
android.permission.BROADCAST_STICKY : Potential Danger: Can make your device running slow or be unstable by introducing memory leaks.
android.permission.CAMERA : Potential Danger: Could take pictures and videos without your knowledge.
android.permission.FLASHLIGHT : Potential Danger: Can control your camera flashlight.
android.permission.INTERNET : Potential Danger: Allows an app to connect to Internet.
android.permission.LOCATION_HARDWARE","Potential Danger: Allows an application to use location features in hardware, such as the geofencing, etc.
android.permission.READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE : Potential Danger: Allows an application to read from external storage.
android.permission.READ_PHONE_STATE : Potential Danger: Allows read only access to phone state.
android.permission.READ_PROFILE : Potential Danger: Allows an application to read from external storage.
android.permission.RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED : Potential Danger: Allows an app to run itself every time you start your device.
android.permission.SET_WALLPAPER : Potential Danger: Could change your wallpaper.
android.permission.VIBRATE : Potential Danger: Allows control of the vibrate function on your device.
android.permission.WAKE_LOCK","Potential Danger: It can prevent your device from going to sleep mode (drain battery).
android.permission.READ_SYNC_SETTINGS","Potential Danger: Allows an app to know if you have turned on or off background data syncs (Facebook, Gmail, etc.).
android.permission.RESTART_PACKAGES","Potential Danger: Could allow closing of processes of other applications.
android.permission.EXPAND_STATUS_BAR","Potential Danger: Allows an application to expand or collapse the status bar.
android.permission.GET_PACKAGE_SIZE","Potential Danger: Allows an application to find out the space used by other installed apps.
android.permission.SET_ALARM","Potential Danger: Allows the opening of the alarm app on the phone.
android.permission.SET_TIME_ZONE","Potential Danger: Allows applications to change the system time zone.
android.permission.INSTALL_SHORTCUT","Potential Danger: Allow an app to put an icon or shortcut on home screen.
android.permission.READ_USER_DICTIONARY","Potential Danger:  Can read words added to your custom dictionary.
android.permission.WRITE_USER_DICTIONARY","Potential Danger: Can write words to your custom dictionary.
android.permission.ACCESS_WIMAX_STATE","Potential Danger: Allows an app to see if it is currently connected to a WIMAX 4G wireless network.
android.permission.CHANGE_WIMAX_STATE","Potential Danger: Allows an app to turn on or off the WiMax 4G wireless network.

Above descriptions are used in my Android app: Safety Checker.
Non of the text can be copied or used without my written approval.

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