Cyber AttacksData Breaches

Photo Apps Steals User’s Photos and Promotes Scams


There are apps available in Google Play Store that might not be a legitimate one. Google has taken several efforts to remove fake and malicious apps, but still there are few which have managed to sneak into the Play Store.

The cyber security firm, Trend Micro have discovered around 29 photo apps that are available in Google Play Store and was downloaded by more than 4 million times before Google removed them from its app store.

Those apps which has been disguised as photo editing and beauty apps claims to use your mobile phone’s camera to take better pictures or enhance the beauty of the photos you have taken. But these apps contain codes that performs malicious activities on their users’ smartphone.

Three of the apps called Pro Camera Beauty, Cartoon Art Photo and Emoji Camera have been downloaded by more than million users, with Artistic Effect Filter being installed over 500,000 times and another seven apps downloaded over 100,000 times.

When these apps are installed in the phones, they would push full-screen advertisements on victim’s device every time the phone is unlocked. Some of the apps would redirect victims to phishing sites to steal their personal information by fooling them into believing they have won a contest.

29 Fake Android Apps

There are some malicious camera that included malicious code which uploads user’s photos to an external remote server controlled by the app maker.

So instead of beautifying the photo and giving an edited photo, the app provides the users with a fake update prompt in nine different languages which will then direct them to a phishing site.

The apps used various techniques to hide their malicious activities which includes hiding the app icon from the drawer/launcher so that it becomes difficult for the regular users to find and uninstall such apps.

When Google was reported regarding the existence of such apps, they have deleted it from their Play Store. Several android malwares are being evolved with more advanced and never-seen-before capabilities and finding them on Google Play Store has become common.

In order to prevent downloading such apps and becoming a victim is to download apps from trustworthy brands even when you are downloading from the official app store.

Also check the reviews of the apps done by the users who have already installed it and avoid downloading any apps that has a suspicious behavior or unwanted pop-ups after installing.

And it is always advised to use a good antivirus app on your Android device which can block such malicious apps from affecting your device and remember to keep them updated always.

Priyanka R
Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Author at Cyber Safe News

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