Do you ever read the permissions requirements on the apps you install on your smartphone? Many people don’t. It has recently been revealed that the top 10 free flashlight apps are all in fact spying on you.
Why does an app that should only be using your LED light need permissions to know your GPS location, access your photos and videos, your camera, microphone, full network access, and so on? The answer as simple as it is worrisome: It’s spying on you. The worst part is, it’s not a secret. After complaints about the surveillance of these apps to the FTC, the makers of the no.2 app on the Android Play Store were sued by the FTC and settled the lawsuit. Now, the app presents the users with a lengthy EULA that most likely no one reads, where it in fact tells the user that they’ll be spied upon.
These top flashlight apps are installed on over 500,000,000 smartphones. This translates to most of the smartphones on the planet. A security expert Gary Miliefsky and his team analyzed these apps and found that most of the information collected heads out to countries like Russia, China, and India. He is also suspecting that they are using the collected information for criminal purposes.
Pretty much it seems that they use it for criminal purposes, but if a nation state [sic] wants to collect a lot of information on Americans, this is a great way to do it because everybody installs a flashlight app
This should serve as a sobering warning to all the people who download any app from the app stores without reading the permissions. It’s not worth it. ALWAYS read the permissions, at least, if not the EULA itself. Stay vigilant, it’s something these criminals don’t expect. They expect sheep who click on a nice looking icon just because it’s nice.
By LIFARS Uncategorized • • Tags: app store, apple app store, bright flashlight free, china, criminal use, flashlight app, google play, GPS location, india, LED light, millions victims, photos and media, russia, spying on users, super-bright led, torch
About the author
LIFARS is a digital forensics and cybersecurity intelligence firm based in New York City. LIFARS is ranked as one of the top Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigations companies in 2016 and as one of the top cybersecurity companies in the New York metropolitan area for 2015 on the Cybersecurity 500 – a directory of the hottest and most innovative companies to watch in the cybersecurity industry.
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