Researchers have discovered many photo editing applications stealing images of users. These applications have codes capable of performing malicious activities on users’ phones. Around 30 image editing and beauty applications were discovered to be malicious recently by the Trend Micro labs’ researchers. Many applications also used packers in order to keep them from being technically analyzed. Unfortunately, these malicious applications were downloaded by millions of users before they were removed from the Google Play Store platform.
“We discovered several beauty camera apps (detected as AndroidOS_BadCamera.HRX) on Google Play that are capable of accessing remote ad configuration servers that can be used for malicious purposes,” stated Trend Micro in a blog post. The applications once installed will not immediately show any suspicious behavior until people try to delete them from their phones. After installing an application, it will make a shortcut on users’ phone and hide its icon from the list of apps.
Some applications push full-screen advertisements on their devices for pornographic or fraudulent content whenever people unlock them. Some applications redirect users of app-containing devices to a phishing site and try to steal personal information. They are tricked by messages that say they won some contest and ask for personal information like address and phone number.
Researchers also found another set of image filter or beautifying applications containing malicious codes, which upload user images to a server controlled remotely by the attacker. Instead of the edited output, users are shown fake update prompts in different languages, which is then redirected to a deceptive site.
As always, it is best to check the reviews of applications before you download them and not install it if any suspicious behaviors were reported. If beautification or enhancement is your real purpose, then you can also consider seeking the help of a professional photo editing service.
Such service providers use professional picture editing software programs to do the task on a computer. So you can rest assured that your personal information will not be exposed to malpractices, not to mention that you can get a more than satisfactory output from the experts. Even in the day and age of digital services that appeal to self-taught editors, many users are still seeing professional photo editing service program as the best and safest option, so it is always best if you venture down this path to secure your personal information.