Cybersecurity

Two Camera Apps Containing Adware Removed From The Google Play Store

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Researchers at cybersecurity firm Wandera discovered two apps, Sun Pro Beauty Camera and Funny Sweet Beauty Camera both contained adware. The Sun Pro Beauty Camera app had been available since September 2017, and had over a million downloads. The other, Funny Sweet Beauty Camera app was up since July of this year and according to ZDNet had amassed more than 500,000 downloads.

These apps made broad permissions requests like asking for access to the microphone. It may seem like a selfie camera shouldn’t need microphone access. But it’s common to see apps ask for far reaching permissions on a users phone.

Both apps had access to user data, and were flooding devices with ads. In some cases these ads couldn’t be closed and ads could even appear outside the app. Wandera reported these apps to Google last week and both have been removed from the playstore.

The apps were also using APKs packed with a Chinese packer called Ijiami. Packers are commonly used to protect the APK from being unwrapped and analyzed. This functionality isn’t a clear indicator of ill intent as it is used to prevent other developers from copying them. However, this also prevents extensive analysis by security researchers.

In August, Trend Micro found that Android users had downloaded adware apps 8 million times from the Google Play store. We’ve also seen Google Chrome extensions up to bad behavior.

If you downloaded these apps, remove them. And while it may sound clichéd, only download apps you trust. Just being in the Play Store isn’t reason to assume the apps are on the up and up.

Header Image: “Google Play” by Natalia Bivol 

Natalie Klein
Natalie Klein
A small town girl living in a robots world. But these robots only exist online and don't look like Gabriel Luna. I cover things relating to AI and cybersecurity, topics that are increasingly converging.

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