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Google bans dozens of apps that were secretly gathering users’ data

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Google removed these 15 Android apps from Play Store.

Highlights:

  • Google recently removes applications from the Play store.
  • Google also announced new store listing preview asset guidelines.
  • These apps have reportedly been identified to render fraudulent advertising on users’ devices.

Google has removed more than a dozen apps from its Play Store after learning they contained malicious code which was harvesting people’s locations, phone numbers, and email addresses. These include a QR code scanner, a weather app, and Muslim prayer apps. Some of the apps had been downloaded more than 10 million times.

All these apps come with different names but served the same purpose. Some were image editors, and video editing apps, others were wallpaper apps, flashlight applications, file managers, and mobile games. Once downloaded, the apps bombard users with numerous out-of-context adverts. Such unexpected ads can eventually slow down the users’ phones and can even spy on users.

Google has banned malicious apps from the Play store

The reason people download these kinds of apps is that- they lure them with promises of freebies that are never actually delivered Such as free Netflix coupon codes, and Google AdWords coupon codes. Google is applying a blanket ban on sexual content and is updating its Inappropriate Content policy to renew the ban on sexual content. This ban will crackdown on apps like SDM, Spoil, Sugar Daddy, and Suger Daddy that are still available on the Google Play Store.

While Google acted quickly on the information, the question is how did these apps pass Google’s security check. Evidently, Google’s current security measures aren’t enough to keep malware away from the Play Store. It is advised that only the official apps be downloaded from the Google Play Store to avoid such malicious apps. It’s always best to read the reviews and ratings of an app before downloading.

The updated Play Store listings will also outline whether apps employ security practices like data encryption, if Google’s families policy is followed, if the data sharing details have been verified by an independent third party, and if the app allows users to request data detection. Google will redefine its Device and Network Abuse policy that will prohibit apps or SDKs with interpreted languages such as Javascript from violating Google Play store policies.

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