In recent Android builds, the operating system has offered its users an improved degree of control over what resources or areas an application has access to. However, this system is still abused by many applications that do not require many of the permissions they require to operate. Now, a Chinese developer’s apps have been labeled as ‘Spyware’ from a research team that suspects that 100 million Android users have already been affected.
The research team is from VPNpro that claimed that the developer behind the app also has at least 50 million installs and its apps request “dangerous permissions.” Notably, VPNpro also claimed that one of their apps also has a malicious remote access trojan hidden within it. These applications were found in Google’s Play Store and were made from a Chinese developer and its local subsidiaries. Reportedly, this practice has been seen before with developers hiding behind a network of different subsidiaries.
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The Chinese developer behind the abuse was the Hangzhou-based QuVideo Inc. It is best known for its popular video editing app, VivaVideo. This application is extremely popular since it offers its services for free, with the Play Store showing 100 million installs. VivaVideo is also one of the 40 Chinese apps that have been listed as ‘malicious-ware’ or ‘spyware’ by the Indian government back in 2017.
The apps from QuVideo are available on Apple’s iOS as well. However, due to the permissions system and boundaries being different, the abuse of a similar nature isn’t present on that platform. So, those that have these applications are warned to check what permissions you are granting the app.
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