When you upload photos for editing on photo editor apps, are you sure that your pictures won’t be misused by the apps? It seems that one can never be sure about Android apps. Google recently removed 29 camera and photo apps that were stealing uploaded photos and pushing full-screen porn ads.
Some of the taken down apps were running with the sole motive of displaying intrusive ads featuring bogus contests to steal your information. On the other hand, some apps that were meant to beautify your pictures were actually stealing your uploaded pictures.
Interestingly, most of the users who downloaded these apps are from Asia, India specifically.
The apps in question deployed suspicious means to dupe users. Multiple compression archives were put to use to evade analysis. A thick layer of encryption was used to hide remote servers operating behind the apps. The apps made it difficult for users to remove them as one couldn’t simply drag and delete them. These apps were not available in the standard list of apps for users to weed them out.
3 out of the 29 removed apps had more than a million downloads on the Google Play Store and 11 apps were downloaded 100,000 times, suggesting a large number of potential victims of this photos app scam.
This is not the first time that apps on Google Play Store have been found stealing user data. Earlier this year, ES File Explorer, a popular Android file manager app, was accused of operating a hidden web server.