Apps with 382 million downloads are banned on suspicion of espionage

Aplikasi dengan 382 juta unduhan dilarang karena dicurigai sebagai spionase

A set of 24 applications for Android 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 extent of the impact on the victims who downloaded it is still uncertain.

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The apps looked harmless, with functions with weather forecast, calculator, camera effects, calendar and browsers. However, the requested permissions were not always linked to the promised resource. The analysis of VPNPro points out a probable link with the Chinese conglomerate TCL Corporation.

1 of 1 24 apps removed from the Google Play Store may have leaked data from 382 million Android users – Photo: Thássius Veloso / dnetc

24 apps removed from the Google Play Store may have leaked data from 382 million Android users – Photo: Thássius 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 cell phone maker TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited.

The list includes apps that were considered 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 security of officers.

How to remove viruses on an Android phone

How to remove viruses on an Android phone

Of the 24 apps identified and removed by Google, two are publicly owned by 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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