Android users exposed to data theft risk for using photo editing apps

Users in Asia are particularly vulnerable to the fraud apps



TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Beauty apps available on the Google Play Store for mobile devices running the Android operating system could pose data security risks to users, a Taiwanese IT security company warned.

A number of popular photography applications boasting photo enhancement features are identified to have been implanted with malware that will display porn ads or malicious content, Trend Micro (趨勢科技) suggested.

The malicious software implanted in the apps will even direct users to pages asking them to download porn software or provide personal information for marketing analysis purposes, Liberty Times cited the company.

Users who fall victim to the fraudulent practice may inadvertently give away their addresses, phone numbers, and other sensitive information after directed to phishing links when accessing the apps.

The cybersecurity service provider cautions that several photo editing apps require users to upload pictures onto specific servers for “image beautification.” It turns out that the photos could be misappropriated and used for illegal purposes, such as creating fake social media accounts.

According to Trend Micro, some of the malicious apps have been downloaded for a staggering several million times, with users from Asia being the most vulnerable ones.

Action has been taken by Google Play Store managers to remove dubious apps, but users are advised to exercise extreme caution when accessing beauty camera apps. Installing anti-virus software on their mobile devices is also an effective way of intercepting malware.