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Google Removes 29 Malicious Photo Editing Apps from Play Store Google Removes 29 Malicious Photo Editing Apps from Play Store
News | 02/05/2019

Google Removes 29 Malicious Photo Editing Apps from Play Store


When was the last time you checked your PC health? Do you know your PC requires a regular Check Up!!!

Google Removes 29 Malicious Photo Editing Apps

We always advise our readers to avoid downloading applications in their Android smartphone from unknown sources other than the Google Play Store. The abrupt removal of several apps holds a reason, i.e., to keep play store safe from the nefarious codes.

Last summer in 2018, Google removed hundreds of malicious apps from the store. Most of them were infected from Windows malware and were sneaking into users privacy, redirecting to phishing websites to collect personal information.

Same happened last week where Google removed 29 apps from the Play Store performing unwanted activities like stealing photos, data, repeated display of Ads, etc. Almost every app tries to steal users data by redirecting them to phishing websites.

The apps use several methods to prevent users from discovering their malicious activities. It includes encoded remote BASE64 servers that increase the difficulty to analyze malicious apps.

Even more sometimes uninstalling them was difficult additionally, apps' reviews suggest that something was amiss. A user downloading these apps immediately can’t suspect that there is something wrong until they decide to uninstall and delete the app.

Some of these Android apps were downloaded millions of times, and a large number of the download counts originated in Asia - particularly in India.

The various Beauty Camera Apps on Google Play Store send pornographic content and redirects them to phishing websites in order to collect users’ pictures. Since these apps were capable of accessing remote ads configuration, they carry out malicious attacks on smartphones.

Such beauty camera apps detected as AndroidOS_BadCamera.HRX infects other legitimate Android apps by exploiting the security vulnerabilities in Android phones.

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List of 29 Malicious Beauty Camera Apps

Pro Camera Beauty, Emoji Camera, Cartoon Art Photo, Art Editor, Artistic effect Filter, Beauty Camera, Horizon Beauty Camera, Selfie Camera Pro, Super Camera, Awesome Cartoon Art, Art Filter Photo, Art Effects for Photo, Cartoon Effect, Art Effect, Photo Editor, Magic Art Filter Photo Editor, Wallpapers HD, Fill Art Photo Editor, Art Filter, Cartoon Art Photo, ArtFlipPhotoEditing, Prizma Photo Effect, Art Filter Photo Editor, Pixture, Cartoon Art Photo Filter, Art Effect, Cartoon Photo Filter and Photo Art Effect.

The photo apps named above are responsible for carrying out malicious activities on Android devices. These apps load fraudulent or pornographic content whenever a user unlocks the device.

Hence, if you have any of these apps still present in your mobiles, then you must delete them as soon as possible including their every file.

You must be wondering how come Google identifies such apps and remove them or ban them forever from the Play Store. The tech giant, Google uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify bad apps.

Below we have briefly described the bad apps identifiers which is a part of Google’s machine learning process.

Also, Read: Latest and Trending Cyber Security Trends to Watch In 2019

Impersonation, Inappropriate Content, Detect Malware

Impersonation: Google’s Android Developers Blog states that finding copycats of apps is a popular thing. Developers of such apps, also known as impersonators use deceptive methods and confusable Unicode to make an exact copy of the famous apps.

Once Google finds such apps, they forbid them before anyone else could install them. In 2017, 2,50,000 apps were removed since they were impersonating titles of apps.

Inappropriate Content: According to the blog, inappropriate content is something which includes pornography, violence, hate and illegal activities. Google doesn't allow the promotion of such content via apps and flags them.

Last year with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence, tens of thousands of apps were removed to increase the security at Play Store.

Detect Malware: The presence of PHAs causes harm to Android device users and detecting phishing, virus and Trojans is important. With Google Play Protect, scanning malware in any app is now easy.

Consequently, in 2018, the presence of malicious applications has gone down by 50%.

Following this process, Google was successful in identifying 29 malicious beauty camera apps which are no longer present on the Play Store.

According to the reports, all these apps were involved in illegal content, fake messaging, etc. which was difficult enough for the users to identify by themselves.

However, Google took action on them and flagged them forever before these apps could put Android smartphone users privacy at stake.

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Tips to Prevent virus and malware from Infecting Your System:

  1. Enable your popup blocker: Pop-ups and ads on the websites are the most adoptable tactic used by cybercriminals or developers with the core intention to spread malicious programs.
    So, avoid clicking uncertain sites, software offers, pop-ups etc. and Install a powerful ad- blocker for ChromeMozilla, and IE
  2. Keep your Windows Updated: To avoid such infections, we recommend that you should always keep your system updated through automatic windows update.By doing this you can keep your device free from virus.According to the survey, outdated/older versions of Windows operating system are an easy target.
  3. Third-party installation: Try to avoid freeware download websites as they usually install bundled of software with any installer or stub file.
  4. Regular Backup: Regular and periodical backup helps you to keep your data safe in case the system is infected by any kind of virus or any other infection.Thus always backup important files regularly on a cloud drive or an external hard drive.
  5. Always have an Anti-Virus: Precaution is better than cure. We recommend that you install an antivirus like ITL Total Security or a good Malware Removal Tool like Download Virus RemovalTool

Are your devices Secure?

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