A set of 24 Android apps may have compromised the privacy of up to 382 million users worldwide. A report from the network service provider VPNPro, released last Monday (3), points out that the apps collected audio, video and various personal data for espionage purposes. According to Google, compromised items have already been removed from the Google Play Store. However, the size of the impact on the victims who made the downloads is still uncertain.
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The apps looked harmless, with weather forecast functions, a calculator, camera effects, calendar and browsers. However, the requested permissions were not always linked to the promised resource. The analysis of VPNPro points out likely connection with the Chinese conglomerate TCL Corporation.
24 apps removed from the Google Play Store may have leaked data from 382 million Android users Photo: Thssius Veloso / dnetc
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The doubts regarding the reliability of the developers are linked to a delicate history of Shenzhen HAWK, which would be responsible for all applications banned by Google. The company is a subsidiary of TCL Corporation, which also owns the mobile phone manufacturer TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited.
The list contains apps that have been identified as dangerous in the past even by authorities in other countries. In 2017, the Indian government ordered military personnel to remove Virus Cleaner 2019 from their cell phones, an app developed by Shenzhen HAWK that allegedly could compromise the safety of officers.
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Of the 24 apps identified and removed by Google, two are publicly from Shenzhen HAWK, while another five are directly related to the Alcatel handset brand, also owned by TCL. According to experts from VPNProhowever, the other 17 apps would also be the responsibility of the same group of companies.
See the list of banned apps from the Google Play Store
- Sound Recorder
- Super Cleaner
- Virus Cleaner 2019
- File Manager
- Joy Launcher
- Turbo Browser
- Weather Forecast
- Candy Selfie Camera
- Hi VPN, Free VPN
- Candy Gallery
- Calendar Lite
- Super Battery
- Hi Security 2019
- Net Master
- Puzzle Box
- Private Browser
- Hi VPN Pro
- World Zoo
- Word Crossy!
- Soccer Pinball
- Dig it
- Laser Break
- Music Roam
- Word Crush
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