Trend Micro, a security firm, has found 29 beauty camera apps on Google Play Store that are utilizing phishing and malware techniques to bank on user’s device via ads and stealing crucial information possibly to use it illegally without user’s consent.
Google has been thorough about such practices, however, these camera enhancement apps use discrete tactics to hide under the radar. Popular in Asia, these apps have cumulatively banked more than 4mn downloads of which, top three are beauty camera apps have more than 1mn downloads each. The top contender here are apps like “Beauty Camera”, “Pro Beauty Camera”, and “Horizontal Beauty Camera” among others.
If you are unaware of how these apps use phishing techniques, read along and be cautious. Once installed, these apps will show full-screen ads on unlocking the phone. Although it is easy to simply close those ads. It is common to get constant ads and since there is no way the user can find which app is showing the ads, it is not that easy to stop it either.
But there’s more. Some of the users claim that these app use lucky draw and reward-related tactics to lure users into playing games like spinning a roulette where the user always wins followed by a simple questionnaire that prompts users into sharing valuable details such as their names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. This means that these apps are fraudulently stealing user data as well. Other practices include clicking on any part of the screen where the app will automatically install porn player on the device which won’t work even when paid to avail the service.
But there’s more. The apps hide their listing on your Android smartphone’s downloaded app page and thus, not allowing the users to uninstall the app either. Other practices include asking the users to submit their photos so that these apps can enhance it further, however, once the photos are uploaded to the so-called app server, there is no enhancement but instead, the photo might be used for something fraudulent such as creating social media profiles, etc.
Finally, Google detected the issue of more than 29 apps in Play Store and successfully removed it from the Play Store listing. So take a deep breath because Google got your back.