Google Play Store removes apps linked to US intelligence

The latest measure of the Google Play Store against malicious apps that collect data has involved removing spy apps from US intelligence agencies. Under the guise of all kinds of simple tools there was sophisticated software to obtain user data without your consent.

In fact, the system even allowed WhatsApp spying by accessing its image folders. According to the information discovered, the United States intelligence agencies entrusted this task to the Panamanian company Measurement Systems , which in turn developed a tracking tool (SDK).

Measurement Systems offered its SDK to various developers, who received money if the applications they uploaded to the Google Play Store provided information to users, with figures between 100 and 10,000 dollars per month.

The stolen data includes geographic location, emails, phone numbers and others that have not been specified for now. In addition, it seems that the malware was capable of detecting devices close to the Android mobile where it was installed, so it could potentially record encounters between people.

The expelled applications had millions of affected users , and covered very diverse topics: QR code readers, speed camera warnings or Islamic prayer guides.

This problem has been discovered by detecting the same Measurement Systems code in many apps, although Google does not seem to be taking it entirely seriously.

Some apps are already being re-uploaded to the Play Store after removing spyware , so the punishment for selling user data to US intelligence is pretty slim.

In any case, US intelligence had already confirmed that it bought data from third parties , to analyze risks, so these facts are not entirely new.

We recently learned that the Google Play Store will not let you install old apps for security reasons, but Android still has a lot to improve when it comes to store security . New malware is discovered every so often, and surely there are other intelligence services that use your data, not just the US.

Via: The Wall Street Journal