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Several Popular Beauty Camera Apps Have Been Caught Stealing User Photos

The availability of an app on the Google Play Store does not guarantee that it is legitimate. Despite Google’s efforts, scammers and hackers can trick millions of unsuspecting users into downloading malicious applications.

Before Google removed them from its app store, at least 29 deceptive photo apps had been downloaded more than 4 million times. Trend Micro, a cybersecurity company, discovered at least 29 of these apps.

The mobile apps in question masqueraded as photo editing and beauty apps claiming to use your mobile phone’s camera to take better photos or enhance the images you take, but they were discovered to contain malicious code.

Three of the malicious apps, Pro Camera Beauty, Cartoon Art Photo, and Emoji Camera, have been downloaded over one million times each, while Artistic Effect Filter has been downloaded over half a million times and seven other apps on the list have been downloaded over one hundred thousand times.

Some of these apps, once installed, would display full-screen advertisements for fraudulent or pornographic content whenever the infected phone is unlocked, while others would redirect victims to phishing sites in an attempt to steal their personal information by convincing them they have won a contest.

29 Fake Android Applications to Avoid

  • Pro Camera Beauty
  • Cartoon Art Photo
  • Emoji Camera
  • Artistic effect Filter
  • Art Editor
  • Beauty Camera
  • Selfie Camera Pro
  • Horizon Beauty Camera
  • Super Camera
  • Art Effects for Photo
  • Awesome Cartoon Art
  • Art Filter Photo
  • Art Filter Photo Effects
  • Cartoon Effect
  • Cartoon Art Photo Filter
  • Art Filter Photo Editor
  • Pixture
  • Art Effect
  • Photo Art Effect
  • Cartoon Photo Filter
  • Art Effect
  • Photo Editor
  • Wallpapers HD
  • Magic Art Filter Photo Editor
  • Fill Art Photo Editor
  • ArtFlipPhotoEditing
  • Art Filter
  • Cartoon Art Photo
  • Prizma Photo Effect

Another group of camera apps designed to enhance photos was discovered to contain malicious code that uploads user photos to a remote server controlled by the app developer.

However, rather than displaying a final result with the edited photo, the app serves users with a fake update prompt in nine different languages that lead once more to a phishing site.

Researchers from Trend Micro wrote in a blog post that the app’s creators could collect photos uploaded through the app and use them for malicious purposes, such as creating fake social media profiles.

To conceal their activities, some of these apps hid their app icon from the app drawer/launcher, making it more difficult for regular users to identify and uninstall the offending apps.

Google removed the malicious apps from its Play Store after being made aware of them, but this is unlikely to prevent malicious apps from infecting the Android app store in the future.

With each passing day, Android malware acquires more sophisticated and never-before-seen capabilities, and their appearance on the Google Play Store is not a surprise.

The most effective way to avoid falling victim to such malicious applications in the future is to only download apps from reputable companies, even when downloading from the official app store.

Additionally, before downloading any app, examine the reviews left by other users and avoid those that mention suspicious behavior or pop-ups after installation.

Keep an up-to-date antivirus app on your Android device that can detect and block such malicious activities before they can infect your device, and always have it installed.

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The above article was written by the BestTopReviewsOnline team, which consists of some of the most knowledgeable technical experts in the United States. Our team consists of highly regarded writers with vast experience in smartphones, computer components, technology apps, security, and photography, among other fields.

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