Most smartphone users, particularly those selfie-freaks, love to download various photo-filtering and beauty camera apps. From adding special effects and frames to beautifying features, these apps offer lots of photo-editing features making them a must-have for the narcissistic. However, not every camera application is always so innocent. Reportedly, Google had to pull off tens of such applications due to malicious their other malicious activities. Those apps not only stole user photos, but also directed them to malicious sites.
Malicious Beauty Camera Apps Targeted 4 Million Users
TrendMicro recently shared their report about various malicious beauty camera apps that targeted around 4 million victims. The apps existed on the Google Play Store and had a large number of downloads in Asia, particularly India.
According to their findings, some of these apps would barrage users with ads redirecting to filthy and fraudulent websites. Some users could not uninstall those apps since their icons would disappear after installation. Moreover, those camera apps “used packers” to evade analysis.
Additionally they found a further bunch of photo-filter apps showing similar malicious behavior. Such apps claimed to beautify users’ pictures, but didn’t show any valid results.
As revealed, these apps were downloaded roughly 4 million times. Some of these applications include Cartoon Art Photo, Pro Camera Beauty, and Emoji camera. They even had some fake 5-star reviews to trick new users. However, they also had an almost equal number of 1-star reviews as well (in a distinct U shape). This hints that the apps had false good reviews.
Google Pulled 29 Bogus Applications
Trend Micro confirmed that Google has already taken down 29 malicious beauty camera apps from the Play Store. However, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be any more of such applications. The researchers, hence, advise the users to carefully analyze apps before installation. They also suggest going through the reviews at first.
“One good method of doing this is by checking reviews from other users. If the reviews mention any kind of suspicious behavior, then it might be a good idea to refrain from downloading the app.”
This isn’t the first time that Google has removed a bunch of applications from the Play Store. Rather this has happened several times in the past as well. For instance, in August 2018, Google removed 45 applications that carried malicious executable files.
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