A good number of infected Google Play Store apps have been discovered by security experts and were capable of stealing your pictures.
Android users are being warned about a sinister secret a number of Google Play Store apps have been hiding.
Security experts Trend Micro have issued a warning about dozens of Android apps that were found on the Google Play Store.
These nefarious Android apps posed as ‘beauty camera’ programs, but held a much more sinister motive.
The malicious apps pushed adverts onto infected devices with fraudulent and pornographic content as well as redirecting users to phishing websites.
These apps were downloaded millions of times, and some of them even collected selfies taken on infected devices which sent to servers elsewhere.
How The Malicious Apps Works
In a post online, Lorin Wu – Trend Micro’s mobile threats analyst – said:
“Some of these have already been downloaded millions of times, which is unsurprising given the popularity of these kinds of apps.
“Further investigation led to another batch of photo filter-related apps that share similar behavior on Google Play.
“These apps seemingly allow users to ‘beautify’ their pictures by uploading them to the designated server.”
However, instead of getting a final result with the edited photo, the user gets a picture with a fake update prompt in nine different languages.
The authors can collect the photos uploaded in the app, and possibly use them for malicious purposes — for example as fake profile pics on social media.”
These apps found on the Google Play Store also evaded users trying to uninstall them by hiding from the application list after getting installed.
Trend Micro said a large number of the installs for these malicious apps originated in Asia – particularly in India.
The apps have now been removed from the Google Play Store.
If you’re wondering whether you have any of these malicious apps on your phone, below is the list of the malicious apps discovered by Trend Micro, appearing from most to least downloaded:
- Pro Camera Beauty
- Cartoon Art Photo
- Emoji Camera
- Artistic effect Filter
- Art Editor
- Beauty Camera
- Selfie Camera Pro
- Horizon Beauty Camera
- Super Camera
- Art Effects for Photo
- Awesome Cartoon Art
- Art filter Photo
- Art Filter Photo Effects
- Cartoon Effect
- Art Effect
- Photo Editor
- Wallpapers HD
- Magic Art Filter Photo Editor
- Fill Art Photo Editor
- Art Filter
- Cartoon Art Photo Filter
- Art Filter Photo Editor
- Art Effect
- Photo Art Effect
- Cartoon Photo Filter
While it may go without saying, if you have any of the above apps installed then it’s recommended you remove them immediately.