Why Downloading Flashlight Apps From Google Play May Be a Bad Idea

Saul Franklin
January 6, 2018

In what could be among the most intelligently-designed malicious apps, as many as 36 such apps on the Google Play Store were found harvesting sensitive user data, sending them to remote servers and aggressively pushing advertisements to user devices as part of a click fraud campaign, while performing the usual functions expected from mobile security apps.

The publication also identified some of the apps that use their software to collect TV habits information from the users.

Cybersecurity company Check Point Software revealed the findings on Friday after discovering the fraudulent apps in November and notifying Google (goog), which promptly removed the software from the Google Play store, said Check Point security researcher Daniel Padon. On the Play Store, their descriptions mentioned capabilities like scanning, cleaning junk, saving battery, cooling the CPU, locking apps, message security and WiFi security, thereby convincing mobile users that they were genuine security apps with the ability to protect their devices from external threats.

Smoothly running Android apps on Chrome OS has been a work in progress for years now. What's intriguing is that these games can continue to hear ambient noise and derive the commercials you are watching even when your phone is tucked away, and the apps are only running in the background. The Alphonso software is used to run a series of games, a lot of them are targeted towards children. From that audio, the television shows you are watching and television advertisements you are watching are being noted.

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Pokémon GO returned to the top of the App Store charts on December 21 with the introduction of new augmented reality features, built on Apple's ARKit framework.

Most notably in the policy, it says hashed audio signatures.

On iOS devices, you'll open Settings, then open Privacy and then open Microphone. It had also emerged recently that mobile manufacturer OnePlus was providing information about its users to the Chinese government.

Padon estimates that the malware, called LightsOut because if affects several flashlight apps, has been downloaded between 1.5 million to 7.5 million times. You can change it so that the app or the game is not accessing your microphone to collect or use the information collected. The app uses a software from Alphonso, a company that specializes in collecting user data for advertisers.

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