Uninstall These 29 Beauty Camera Apps, They Steal Your Private Photo

Google has recently banned 29 beauty camera apps from the Play Store as those are reportedly to have malicious functionalities. As per a recent Trend Micro report, these beauty camera apps run unauthorised programs in the device that help the apps steal photographs, run ads, download pornographic content, and also do phishing.

These apps, though banned now, have already been downloaded millions of times, and majority of these downloads are from India, the report says.

Modus Operandi

A user downloading one of these apps will not immediately suspect that there is anything amiss, until they decide to delete the app. For example, the app Beauty Camera will create a shortcut after being launched. However, it will hide its icon from the application list, making it more difficult for users to uninstall the app since they will be unable to drag and delete it. Furthermore, the camera apps use packers to prevent them from being analyzed.

The app will push several full screen ads when users unlock their devices, including malicious ads (such as fraudulent content and pornography) that will pop up via the user’s browser. Take note, however, that nothing will play, even after the user pays and executes the player.

None of these apps give any indication that they are the ones behind the ads, thus users might find it difficult to determine where they’re coming from. Some of these apps redirect to phishing websites that ask the user for personal information, such as addresses and phone numbers. For example, in the figure below, clicking the “OK” button in the middle screenshot will redirect the user to a new page, which will give the user three tries to win a prize. The third try will always allow the user to win, after which a form will appear asking the user for detailed information.

Trend Micro in its report said further investigation led to another batch of photo filter-related apps that share similar behavior on Google Play. These apps seemingly allows users to “beautify” their pictures by uploading them to the designated server. However, instead of getting a final result with the edited photo, the user gets a picture with a fake update prompt in nine different languages. The authors can collect the photos uploaded in the app, and possibly use them for malicious purposes — for example as fake profile pics in social media.

The Banned Beauty Camera Apps

App Name Installs
Pro Camera Beauty 1,000,000+
Cartoon Art Photo 1,000,000+
Emoji Camera 1,000,000+
Artistic effect Filter 500,000+
Art Editor 100,000+
Beauty Camera 100,000+
Selfie Camera Pro 100,000+
Horizon Beauty Camera 100,000+
Super Camera 100,000+
Art Effects for Photo 100,000+
Awesome Cartoon Art 100,000+
Art Filter Photo 50,000+
Art Filter Photo Effcts 10,000+
Cartoon Effect 10,000+
Art Effect 10,000+
Photo Editor 5,000+
Wallpapers HD 5,000+
Magic Art Filter Photo Editor 5,000+
Fill Art Photo Editor 1,000+
ArtFlipPhotoEditing 1,000+
Art Filter 1,000+
Cartoon Art Photo 1,000+
Prizma Photo Effect 1,000+
Cartoon Art Photo Filter 100+
Art Filter Photo Editor 100+
Pixture 100+
Art Effect 50+
Photo Art Effect 10+
Cartoon Photo Filter 5+

 

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