Google has removed 29 fake photo applications from the Play Store, its app download portal. The apps were discovered by the digital security company Trend Micro, and all of them were advertised as “beauty cameras”, which are applications for photo retouching.
“The fake beauty apps that hid all types of malware have been downloaded from the Play Store more than four million times.”
The applications, which have already been deleted by Google from the Play Store, contained, instead of a photo editor, a varied and harmful collection of malware. Some of the app loaded ads full screen each time the user unlocked the phone with links that led either to scams or to pornographic content (which was also a scam).
Everything advertised was a scam, since even pornography ads (something that is technically legal), promised content in exchange for money that then did not materialize. Other applications directed users to phishing sites in order to steal your personal information, trying to get data such as phone number or email through a register to win an alleged prize.
But the most terrifying, without a doubt, is that some of the applications stole users’ photos. Under the pretext of “embellishing” a photo in which a user appears, the image was uploaded to a private server. Immediately afterwards, the user did not receive his embellished photo, but instead found himself with a message asking him to update the app.
It is very possible that these stolen photos are then used for other malicious activities such as false accounts on social networks, identity theft, etc.