Android Flashlight Apps: to Use or Not to Use?

Android Flashlight Apps to Use or Not to Use

Today, Malwarebytes points us towards a nasty flashlight app that aims to take over your phone.

Security specialists frequently use totally free flashlight apps when trying to discuss some nuance of mobile security because there are many of these apps out there, and a lot of them demand far, much more of your individual information than essential to light up a dark room. However this week, Malwarebytes pointed us toward a particularly nasty flashlight app that aims to take control of your phone.

Nefarious Flashlight

When the victim goes to install the flashlight app, it requests superuser access. Malwarebytes told us that the app also comes bundled with multiple rooting libraries. The practical result is that when it’s installed, the app has far more control over your phone than the average app, or perhaps the average user. Unsurprisingly, the app does not consist of any cautions– in the app or the shops where it’s offered– that it will be attempting to gain root access on your phone.

Once it’s set up (and in control), the flashlight app goes to work and puts faster ways on the infected device’s homescreen. According to Malwarebytes, tapping among these triggers to set up other apps onto your phone. Offered their origin, it’s safe to assume that these aren’t apps you ‘d desire on your phone, either.

The dubious flashlight app also takes actions to conceal the existence of its app launcher, making it that much harder for users to merely uninstall it.

What’s It Up To?

Typically, we’re delegated rate what app authors were thinking when they created their harmful apps. It’s generally part of a money making scheme, but often the money making angle isn’t really clear without inside knowledge. This time is different.

Malwarebytes reports that the flashlight app becomes part of a “pay-per-install rip-off.” The flashlight app’s author has actually most likely partnered with affiliate programs to receive a payment each time among the apps bundled with the flashlight app are set up on to a victim’s phone. It’s totally possible that the affiliate isn’t even aware that something unfortunate is happening.

If this sounds like a familiar fraud, that’s because it’s part of what Lookout targeted with their recent war on adware.

Naturally, excellent malware authors constantly try to maximize the devices they contaminate. Why stop at one fraud when you already have a toehold in another person’s device? Once the flashlight app is set up and has actually acquired root access, there’s little preventing the malware author from repurposing it for some other job. “Flashlight apps are often over-permissioned and filled with aggressive adware,” stated Malwarebytes security researcher Armando Orozco. “However this one can likewise root devices, possibly unlocking for other destructive activities.”

Today, this app is pushing adware. Tomorrow, it could be utilizing infected phones as part of a botnet or to spew SMS spam.

Staying Safe

Malwarebytes reports that this app appears to target English speakers, and is spread out around various third party app shops. Links to the harmful app have also been found in online forum posts and comment sections– which is not an uncommon spammy technique for app peddlers.

Fortunately, this makes avoiding this particular app easy: merely do not install any apps from outside Google Play. True, there are some unique and valuable apps that, for one factor or another, aren’t on Google Play. However leave those for the specialists. Our company believe that most users are much better off sticking with Google Play for all their Android app needs.

Naturally, sometimes Google misses out on something nasty. As well as its automated protection service isn’t infallible. To help defend against unique attacks, and the few apps that slip previous Google’s watchful eye, we suggest that Android users install a third-party security app on their Android devices. Malwarebytes has an offering of its own, and we suggest Editors’ Option Bitdefender Mobile Security and Antivirus. Worried about price? Not to stress; Editors’ Choice avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus is totally free.

Last but not least, beware every time you go to set up an app onto your Android phone. Even if the app isn’t outrightly harmful, easy apps can in some cases be packed full of info-gathering tools. App developers in some cases use these to collect your individual details and after that sell it to advertisers. Take a minute to check out the authorizations each app requests, and if you’re not comfortable with what it’s requesting, search around for an alternative. Trust me, there are plenty of alternatives for Android apps. Or, when it comes to a flashlight app, try to a find a phone that runs Android 5.1 and use the one developed into the os.


Morris T. Parson, Tech Support

Leading specialist in electronics and engineering. Author of dozens of articles on various topics from the world of hi-tech. Sound independent analysis of products, exploring new niches and global trends is his special passion.

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