The evolution of mobile communication tech coupled with advancements in Smartphone imaging technologies has taken the world by storm in the last few years. The imaging prowess of present generation Smartphone devices has become comparable to that of a dedicated high-end camera. The users with a desire to beautify the images shot with Smartphone cameras resort to numerous third-party apps. These beauty apps for android found in abundance on Google Play– can be both paid and free. From applying sepia tones to create a vintage effect to adding fun filters to lend images a cartoonish look, the capabilities of such image tweaking apps are no less than magical! However, of late, the safety of such android image enhancement apps has come under the scanner. In the latest development, some of the most popular Google Play ‘Beauty Apps’ are found to be carrying various security issues and malware. This is not the first time Google Play Store apps found to be embedded with malware and viruses. Previously 13 Google Play apps found to be infected with Brain Test malware.
Top Beauty Apps From Google Play Are Found To Be Riddled With Malware In Latest Research Which Sends Pornographic Content and Steals Your Images
Worldwide, millions of Android users have downloaded several third-party image-enhancing apps on their phones or tablets. The popularity and usage growth of these apps have also been fuelled by the rage to make selfies look sleeker and enticing. A recent research done by a leading security software firm Trend Micro has revealed the shady side of these third-party image-enhancing apps. As per the study findings, a majority of such apps, found in Google Play contain malware and adware. Using these apps can lead to severe repercussions for the users. After this revelation Google has removed a total of 29 photo and camera apps from its Android app store.
What are the risks?
Noted Security firm Trend micro recently came up with a shocking revelation on ‘behind the scenes’ activity of such favourite beauty apps for android. Using such third party android image tweaking apps can lead to two major types of hassles.
The first types of apps, upload the images snapped by the device users to a web server. Instead of offering an enhanced image in return, the app will ask the users to update. The users have no clue as to where their pictures are being used. Unwittingly, they are giving away their images for use in fake social media accounts or online profiles, think the security experts.
The second type of Android image beautification apps lures the users with a different tactic, according to expert security analysts. These apps mislead hapless users into thinking they have won prizes and ask them to enter personal information. Besides, some apps will push pornographic content to lure the users to sign up for their services. Once the user signs up, their personal information can be used for various purposes without their consent or knowledge.
The worst part is, after a user clicks on the ads displayed by such apps, they will pave the way for downloading more malicious software. They may be guided to phishing websites by such self-proclaimed best selfie editing apps. This malware can cause much harm in the long run. The developers of such shady Android apps resort to several tactics or security loopholes from being identified as a rogue in Android security protocols. That is how they continued to thrive for months or years before Trend Micro made the startling discovery.
Quantum of damage
While the findings of Trend Micro have come as an eye-opener for the majority of Android users, some damage has already been done! As per the results, some of these so-called best selfie editing apps have been downloaded millions of times. Some of the apps that have been slammed for such practices include Pro Camera Beauty, Cartoon Art Photo, Artistic effect Filter and Emoji Camera. Twenty-nine such apps were identified and taken down by Google.
Remedial actions you can take
Ironically, many users who have installed, such third party image-enhancing apps do not suspect anything is wrong until they get bombarded with a hoard of ad popups and even porn content. Lorin Wu, a noted mobile threats analyst, said some such apps hide the icons from device app list- making them harder to trace and delete. However, locating such app and uninstalling them manually is still possible.
Security experts suggest taking a methodical approach for the users who suspect such malicious image-enhancing apps have plagued their Android devices. First of all, The Android users should not get tempted by the lure of beautifying their images and look for the best filter app for selfies randomly.
They should check out the Google Play Store for reviews of such apps before downloading and installing those. Now, there can be both positive and negative reviews for most apps, but apps with a considerable number of negative reviews are likely to be the culprits.
It will also be a good idea to get your Android device scanned by suitable mobile security software if you get the random ad and porn content pop-ups.
29 Android Beauty Apps Which are now removed by Google Form Play Store
|com.beauty.camera.years.pro||Pro Camera Beauty||1,000,000+|
|com.cartoon.art.photo.ygy.camera||Cartoon Art Photo||1,000,000+|
|art.eff.filter.photo.editor||Artistic effect Filter||500,000+|
|com.selfie.camerapro.pro||Selfie Camera Pro||100,000+|
|com.camera.beauty.kwok.horizon||Horizon Beauty Camera||100,000+|
|com.effects.art.photo.for.self||Art Effects for Photo||100,000+|
|com.solidblack.awesome.cartoon.art.pics.photo.editor||Awesome Cartoon Art||100,000+|
|com.photoeditor.artfilterphoto||Art Filter Photo||50,000+|
|com.photocorner.artfilter.arteffect.prizma||Art Filter Photo Effcts||10,000+|
|com.perfectmakeup.magicartfilter.photoeditor.selfiecamera||Magic Art Filter Photo Editor||5,000+|
|appworld.fillartphotoeditor.technology||Fill Art Photo Editor||1,000+|
|com.photoeditor.cartoonphoto||Cartoon Art Photo||1,000+|
|com.photoeditor.prismaeffects||Prizma Photo Effect||1,000+|
|com.cmds.artphotofiltereffect||Cartoon Art Photo Filter||100+|
|com.latestnewappzone.photoartfiltereditor||Art Filter Photo Editor||100+|
|timepassvideostatus.photoarteffect.cartoonpainteffect||Photo Art Effect||10+|
|com.techbuzz.cartoonfilter||Cartoon Photo Filter||5+|