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Google Removes 29 Malicious Apps That Steal Users’ Information

Furthermore, the camera apps used packers to prevent them from being analysed

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google has deleted 29 malicious “beauty camera” apps that were sharing pornographic content and forwarding users, particularly in India, to phishing websites to steal their information.

Some of these Android apps have been downloaded millions of times and a large number of the download counts originated from Asia — particularly in India, said a report from US-based cyber security firm Trend Micro.

The apps have now been removed by Google from the Play Store.

“A user downloading one of these apps will not immediately suspect that there is anything amiss, until they decide to delete the app,” said Trend Micro.

The app will push several full screen ads when users unlock their devices, including malicious ads (such as fraudulent content and pornography) that will pop up via the user’s browser.

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The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

“During our analysis, we found a paid online pornography player that was downloaded when clicking the pop up,” the report added.

None of these apps gave any indication that they were the ones behind the ads, thus users might find it difficult to determine where they’re coming from.

Some of these apps redirected to phishing websites that asked the user for personal information, such as addresses and phone numbers.

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“For example, the package com.beauty.camera.project.cloud will create a shortcut after being launched. However, it will hide its icon from the application list, making it more difficult for users to uninstall the app since they will be unable to drag and delete it,” Trend Micro noted.

Furthermore, the camera apps used packers to prevent them from being analysed. (IANS)

Next Story

Google Claims It Has “No Plans” To Relaunch A Search Engine in China

Technology companies have recently been a favorite target of many members of the U.S. Congress, who have criticized them over a wide range of issues such as privacy, work in China and allowing foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

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The Chinese flag is seen near the Google sign at the Google china headquarters in Beijing, China. VOA

The United States’ top general said on Thursday that the Chinese military was benefiting from the work Alphabet Inc’s Google was doing in China, where the technology giant has long sought to have a bigger presence.

“The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit,” he said.

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Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market. Pixabay

“Frankly, ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is, it is more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”

Last year Google said it was no longer vying for a $10 billion cloud computing contract with the U.S. Defense Department, in part because the company’s new ethical guidelines do not align with the project.

In June, Google said it would not renew a contract to help the U.S. military analyze aerial drone imagery when it expires, as the company sought to defuse an internal uproar over the deal.

At the same time, Google said it has “no plans” to relaunch a search engine in China, though it is continuing to study the idea.

During the hearing, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sharply criticized the tech company, referring to it as “a supposedly American company.”

FILE - Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a hearing of a Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, March 6, 2019.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a hearing of a Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, March 6, 2019. VOA

Technology companies have recently been a favorite target of many members of the U.S. Congress, who have criticized them over a wide range of issues such as privacy, work in China and allowing foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market.

Also Read: India and Pakistan Threaten to Release Missiles at Each Othe

Asked about Dunford’s comments, Google referred to previous statements.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has previously said the company has invested in China for years and plans to continue to do so, but that the company also was continuing to work with the U.S. government on projects in health care, cybersecurity and other fields. (VOA)