Another day, another exposé of dangerous android applications! This time, it’s two rather popular camera apps available on Google Play Store—’Sun Pro Beauty Camera’ and ‘Funny Sweet Beauty Camera’. A recent security report released by Wandera, one of the world’s most prominent mobile security solutions developers, has warned android users against installing these apps. Everybody who has any of these apps running on their devices has been strongly advised to uninstall them without delay.
According to Wandera, these two apps combined have over 1.5 downloads and have both received a lot of negative reviews, primarily targeted at the apps’ intrusive ads. In addition to being filled with dangerous adware, these apps have been found to be capable of recording audio without users’ consent. They can cause complications like excessive spam ad content, battery drainage and infecting the device to the extent of leaving it completely useless.
Wandera carried out comprehensive testing on these apps using a smartphone running on Android 5.1.1. Here are the detailed findings –
Wandera’s testing revealed that the app continues to run in the background, using up the battery even when the shortcut to the app has been uninstalled. This app was also found to be causing ads to pop up on the device even when the user hadn’t opened the app. These ads were hard to close, and the issue persisted even after the device had been restarted.
‘Sun Pro Beauty Camera’ also has some concerning permissions, the most prominent of these being the app’s ability to start recording audio at any given time, without ever seeking the user’s confirmation. The app was found responsible for overlaying information that causes users to click on something they don’t intend to, leading them to be redirected to pages they don’t want to access.
Results of testing carried out on ‘Funny Sweet Beauty Camera’ have revealed that the app is capable of displaying content over other apps and continues running in the background despite being closed, at times, even after the user had already chosen to uninstall the shortcut.
Same as ‘Sun Pro Beauty Camera’, ‘Funny Sweet Beauty Camera’ too, featured some worrying permissions, including one that enabled it to record audio at any time without notifying the users or seeking their consent.
Both apps have reportedly been removed from Google Play Store after the news of their intrusive and damaging behavior broke out. But despite Google’s best efforts at screening all android apps before accepting them in its library, Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) continue to remain a pressing issue.
The most sensible solution right now is for android users to watch before they click ‘Install’. Here are some key points to consider before downloading any app onto your device –
1.Avoid downloading apps from unknown sources
Sure, Google Play Store hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to identifying and removing PHAs from the get-go, it’s still the best and the most secure place for finding and downloading android apps. One of the biggest reasons is Google Play Protect, a comprehensive security solution for android. Play Protect is usually enabled on all android devices by default. It scans apps you click to install for malware and notifies you if it finds any issues with an app.
To check the status of Play Protect on your device, click on ‘Menu’ in Play Store and select ‘Play Protect’. You’ll be able to see if it’s been switched on or off under the ‘Settings’ tab.
2.Be careful when sideloading apps onto your device
Sideloading or the act of installing an app via APK file downloaded from a source other than Google Play Store is useful in situations when a particular app is yet to be launched or not available in your geographical location, when you’re looking to download an app in your local language or in an ads and trackers free version.
Users also choose to sideload when they find certain paid apps available for free download on the internet. Trouble is, the source code of apps you sideload can contain malware which gets undetected when you bypass Play Store’s protections. Such infected apps can cause serious security risks, including leaking your location and other personal information.
You should always look for the name of the app developer and check if it’s from a trustworthy website. You can also visit Reddit and online communities to check other users’ experience and inputs on the particular app before committing to sideload it.
3.Be mindful of app permissions when downloading them from Google Play Store!
Every app you install has a list of permissions it needs to be approved before you can install it. But the contents of this list are not the same for all apps. It’s best to read the complete list before you click ‘Install’. You can look into ‘Permission Details’ at the bottom of the app info page to get a basic idea of what all the app is requesting access to.
A good way to check if a certain app is trustworthy is by checking app analysis data at ‘AppBrain Stats’. This website offers information about the apps’ ad networks, use of permissions, age and other details and will also suggest similar apps with fewer permissions and higher ratings.
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4.Check App description and reviews
It sounds basic, but it works! The best developers are always on point with their apps’ descriptions while apps with ambiguous details, ill-formed sentences, and spell errors aren’t to be trusted easily. Most apps on the Play Store carry information about the app’s usage and specifications, along with FAQs and short, informative videos. These are all indicative of the quality and trustworthiness of an app.
The review is also a good parameter on which to decide whether to install an app. While it’s not uncommon for developers to include paid or fake reviews, it’s easy to identify authentic reviews from the rest. Such reviews will revolve around real issues that users have encountered while using the app. Look into the developer’s responses – dependable developers with a vested interest in their brand name and value take even minor grievances seriously and would respond to the queries with proper resolutions. Apps missing out on these points are usually best steered clear of.
The Google Play store will always remain to the brim with exciting new apps that offer the most innovative solutions and the best of entertainment. With a little caution, you can identify the good fish from the bad and enjoy the latest in android app solutions without putting your privacy and your device at risk.
Source – Express.co
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