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15 Apps on Google Play Market Found Making Adware Attempts: Report

These apps then hide their own icon so they do not show up in the launcher’s app tray

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Google, Play Store, Dark Theme, Makeover
Huawei smartphones are seen in front of displayed Google Play logo in this illustration picture, May 20, 2019. VOA

At least 15 apps on Google Play Store were found to be engaging in generating frequent, large, and intrusive ads and hiding their app icons in the launcher to make it difficult for users to find and remove them, security researchers at global cyber security major Sophos said on Wednesday.

Several of them went a step further by disguising themselves in the phone’s app settings page.

According to the Google Play Market’s pages for these apps, over 1.3 million devices worldwide have installed at least one of them.

UK based research proposes that diabetes can now be tracked through Google search results in a particular area.
A smartphone and computer screen display the Google home page. VOA

“When first launched, the app displays a message that says ‘This app is incompatible with your device!’ You might think that the app has crashed, because, after this ‘crash,’ the app opens the Play Store and navigates to the page for Google Maps, to mislead you into thinking that the ubiquitous Maps app is the cause of the problem.

“It is not. This is a ruse,” Andrew Brandt, Principal Researcher, SophosLabs, said in a statement.

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These apps then hide their own icon so they do not show up in the launcher’s app tray.

Nine out of the batch of 15 apps used deceptive application icons and names, most of which appeared to have been chosen because they might plausibly resemble an innocuous system app. (IANS)

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Apple Refutes Report of Sharing Safari Data with Tencent or Google

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he believes privacy is "ingrained in the Constitution," but that he's worried about how third-party companies have worked to collect information on us

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Apple, Campus, China
A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

After media reports surfaced that Apple is sending iOS users’ data via its Safari browser to Google and the Chinese tech company Tencent, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker refuted such reports, saying it safeguards people’s information in its own systems and never shares it with third-party players.

A report in reclaimthenet.org stated that “Apple, which often positions itself as a champion of privacy and human rights, may be sending some IP addresses from users of its Safari browser on iOS to Chinese conglomerate Tencent — a company with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party”.

The report focused on Apple’s “fraudulent website warning” system which is built into Apple’s Safari web browser to warn people when they visit sites that are harmful and can trick users into sharing login passwords for banks, email and social media.

“Before visiting a website, Safari may send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the website is fraudulent. These browsing providers may also log your IP address,’ read the information on Apple’s “Safari & Privacy” section.

It’s unclear when Apple started allowing Tencent and Google to log some user IP addresses, but one Twitter user reported the change in Safari happened as early as the iOS 12.2 beta in February 2019, said the report.

Google on an Android device. Pixabay

In a statement, the company said it actually doesn’t send information to Google or Tencent.

“Instead, it receives a list of bad websites from both companies and then uses it to protect people as they surf the web. Apple sometimes obscures the information about the website people visit if it requests more information to check if a questionable website is malicious,” CNET reported on Monday, citing Apple’s statement.

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For people concerned about their privacy, the service can be turned off in Safari preferences on the iPhone or Mac.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he believes privacy is “ingrained in the Constitution,” but that he’s worried about how third-party companies have worked to collect information on us. (IANS)