October 26, 2014 by

Top 10 Smartphone Flashlight Apps Are Spying on You!

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.


About the author

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LIFARS is the global leader in Digital Forensics and Cyber Resiliency Services. Our experience spans two decades working on high profile events, often in concert with Law Enforcement Agencies around the world. Our proprietary methodology derives directly and indirectly from our experience working with and for U.S. Intelligence Agencies, Interpol, Europol, and NATO. We are solely dedicated to Cyber Resiliency and thus pay close attention to all aspects of our clients’ engagements experience while providing a strategic and integrated array of services to minimum risk and disruption while protecting your brand.

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