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You need to check your phone for these popular apps sending pictures and other info to China

Although Play Store is generally a trusted place for downloading apps on Android phone, every now and then malicious apps manage to sneak into the app marketplace. The latest fishy apps that were found hiding on Play Store are File Recovery & Data Recovery and File Manager.
Cyber security company Pradeo says that these apps came from the same developer and were downloaded by 1.5 million users. They look like file management apps but are actually spyware and silently send user information to servers based in China.

File Recovery and Data Recovery was downloaded more than a million times, whereas 500,000 people installed File Manager. The apps asserted that they wouldn’t collect any data from smartphones, but Pradeo found that this was a false claim.

Equally alarming is that the apps said that any collected data would not be deleted even after user request, which goes against data protection laws.
Pradeo’s analysis showed that the apps collected personal data such as:
  • Contacts saved in the device
  • Email and social network contacts
  • Pictures, audio, and videos compiled in the app
  • Real-time user location
  • Country code
  • Name of the network provider
  • Operating system version number (possibly to exploit vulnerabilities)
  • Device model

Most of this info is not required for file management and data recovery operations. The apps do not ask for user permission for collecting this data. The apps also hide their home screen icons to make it difficult to delete them. Both apps transmit data more than a hundred times, which is a frighteningly large amount.

Since malicious apps often require user input for successful attacks, File Recovery & Data Recovery and File Manager employ a tactic whereby the victim’s device restarts and the apps launch in the background.
Per a Bleeping Computer report, the apps were removed from Google Play only recently. Needless to say, if you have these apps on your phone, delete them right away. If you don’t see them on the home screen, go to the app list in settings to get rid of them.

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