‘Beautification’ Apps stealing user data; Google removes 29 malicious Apps from PlayStore

Feb 4, 2019, 8:00 am

Oindrila B.

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The trend of clicking selfies and beautifying them by using various apps has triggered the launch of some apps that are not only harming users’ devices but also stealing their personal data. To rid itself of such malicious apps, Google PlayStore has already discarded 29 apps.

While many OEMs are taking extra steps to develop high-resolution front cameras with integrated beautification features to feed into the fad of clicking that perfect selfie, users still resort to additional apps to add texture to their pictures, including smoothening facial features and brightening skin tone. What these users are unaware of is the fact that these apps are secretly phishing their data and stealing their private pictures.

A security firm, Trend Micro, has already identified a list of at least 29 such apps that have been involved in stealing user data. And although Google has removed all 29 of these apps from its PlayStore, it was too late to stop them from racking up millions of downloads. The apps, when installed, often show full-page advertisements related to fake and even pornographic content when a device is unlocked; besides directing users to phishing websites which in turn trick them into giving away access to their personal data.

Such apps as being listed on the Android Security Bulletin under the heading of ‘AndroidOS_BadCamera.HRX’, also claiming that these apps look almost ‘real’ when they are downloaded. Trend Micro has also claimed that an app identified by ‘com.beauty.camera.project.cloud’ not only creates a shortcut when launched but also hides its icon from the app drawer, making it especially difficult for users to locate and uninstall. They are also replete with tactics to avoid Android’s in-built security measures, besides sporting fake reviews.

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