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Android users: Delete these apps – they’re harvesting your data

If you’ve got one of these 11 apps on your phone, it’s time to delete it.

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Google has removed dozens of Android apps from its app store as they were harvesting user data. All of the apps were including a piece of software from a Panamanian developer that is linked to a US-based defense contractor.

The malicious software was found by AppCensus. They found the code inserted in eleven apps with over 60 million downloads between them. These include a couple of popular Muslim prayer apps, another for using your smartphone to control your PC, a QR scanner, and many more.

Usually, malicious code is disguised inside apps that don’t have much functionality of their own. That’s not the case here, with the Panamanian developer, Measurement Systems S. de R.L., paying developers of legit, functional apps to include their software.

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That could be lucrative, earning up to $10,000 a month depending on the number of active users.

The trouble here is that code chunks like this are rarely audited properly. If the developers had done so, they would have found that the software sent all kinds of identifying data to a central server. It could also pick up the contents of the phone’s clipboard, and other private information.

It’s worth removing any of these apps from your device if you had them installed.

Google removed these Android apps from the Play Store

Google has removed all of these eleven apps from the Google Play Store. If you’ve got any of them installed, it’s time to delete them.

App NameLink to Privacy PolicyInstallationsPhoneEmailIMEIGPSRouter SSIDRouter MAC
Speed Camera Radarlink10 million+yesnoyesnoyesyes
Al-Moazin Lite (Prayer Times)link10 million+yesnoyesnoyesyes
WiFi Mouse(remote control PC)link10 million+nononononoyes
QR & Barcode Scannerlink5 million+yesyesyesyesyesyes
Qibla Compass – Ramadan 2022link5 million+nononoyesyesyes
Simple weather & clock widgetlink1 million+yesnoyesnoyesyes
Handcent Next SMS-Text w/ MMSlink1 million+noyesyesnoyesyes
Smart Kit 360link1 million+noyesyesnoyesyes
Al Quran Mp3 – 50 Reciters & Translation Audiolink1 million+nononoyesyesyes
Full Quran MP3 – 50+ Languages & Translation Audiolink1 million+nononoyesyesyes
Audiosdroid Audio Studio DAW – Apps on Google Playlink1 million+yesnoyesyesyesyes
List courtesy of AppCensus.io

READ MORE: Android users: delete these apps – they could be stealing your money

That’s a lot of installations for some shady software. Google told AppCensus that other Android apps containing the Measurement Systems SDK have also been removed.

However, you might notice that some of the apps are already back in the Google Play Store. That’s because Google said that they would be readmitted if they removed the invasive software SDK.

As the apps can harvest passwords from the clipboard, it’s time to change your passwords for any account you’ve signed into on that device. That includes email, games, financial apps, and literally anything else.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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