Google has banned dozens of apps on Play Store that were secretly harvesting users’ phone numbers and other important data. As per the Wall Street Journal report, the apps that are now banned from Google Play Stores were found to be collecting precise location information, email and phone numbers, nearby devices and passwords. The research also revealed that an SDK developed by Measurement Systems S. De R.L could also scan for Whatsapp downloads. The company is linked to a Virginia defense contractor, which reportedly paid to develop them to include its code in their apps to extract users’ data.
The WSJ reports that the invasive code found in the apps that were banned was discovered by two researchers, Serge Egelman and Joel Reardon, who founded an organization called AppCensus, which checks mobile apps for privacy and security. The researchers revealed that they had reached out to Google with their findings in 2021. Several Muslim prayer apps are on the list, one of which was downloaded over 10 million times. Other affected apps included a speed camera tracker, a weather and clock widget, and an app that turns your phone into a wireless mouse.
Here’s a list of the most affected apps, in case if you want to check your devices:
- Speed Camera Radar
- Al-Moazin Lite (Prayer Times)
- WiFi Mouse(remote control PC)
- QR & Barcode Scanner
- Qibla Compass – Ramadan 2022
- Simple weather & clock widget
- Handcent Next SMS-Text w/MMs
- Smart Kit 360
- Al Quran Mp3-50 Reciters & Translation Audio
- Full Quran MP3-50+ Languages & Translation Audio
- Audiosdroid Audio Studio DAW
If you have any of these apps on your android devices, delete them right now.