Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Google Removes 'Stalker' Apps From Google Play

Google removes seven Russian stalking apps from Play Store Check If Your Android Device Has Been Infected By Malicious Adware
Emmett Howard | 18 July, 2019, 23:45

Two of the apps, Spy Tracker, and SMS Tracker, were installed over 50,000 times each.

CooTek, which recently opened an office in California to help its global expansion, denied the claims, telling BuzzFeed that "the findings claimed by Lookout this time are lack of evidence and the logic is not convincing", however Google has confirmed the findings and pulled all the offending apps.

Google removed all the 7 apps after Avast reported the apps to the company, but it is very insane that these apps even made it to the Play Store in the first place.

Cybersecurity firms Avast discovered that seven apps on the Play Store - Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free, Spy Kids Tracker, Phone Cell Tracker, Mobile Tracking, Spy Tracker, SMS Tracker, Employee Work Spy - were not only enabling users to stalk targeted Android phones, but the apps were also collecting sensitive data like call history and text messages. The apps were most likely designed by a Russian developer and spied on their targets.

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"These apps are highly unethical and problematic for people's privacy and shouldn't be on the Google Play Store", Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Avast's head of mobile threat intelligence and security, said in a statement on Wednesday. The app descriptions position them as spying apps for employees and kids, as well as romantic partners, of course.

The app then prompts the person who installed the app to enter their email address and password.

The move will not affect current users of CooTek's apps, versions of which will remain available on Chinese app markets, the company added. The apps require you to have access to the phone of the person you are trying to spy on and once installed, it's pretty hard to tell that these apps are actually installed as there is no app icon.

While TouchPal might be the most popular app from CooTek, the app developer has published some 200 apps that follow the same offensive pattern.

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