31 Android Selfie / Photo Editors Are Actually Malware

John Lister's picture

Android users should check for 31 rogue beauty-related apps that Google has deleted from the Play Store, but could still be installed onto phones. They can unleash unwanted advertising and open web pages without permission.

The apps all have different names, but largely offer filters to supposedly enhance self-portrait photographs.

Suspicious Typos

According to White Ops, which identified the apps, the full list is as follows. Note that many of the app names include apparent spelling and typographical errors:

  • Beauty & Filters Camera
  • Beauty Camera & Photo Editor Pro
  • Beauty Camera Selfie Filter
  • Beauty Collage Lite
  • Benbu Selife Beauty Camera
  • Best Selfie Beauty Camera
  • Catoon Photo Editor & Selfie Beauty Camera
  • Ele Beauty Camera
  • Elegant Beauty Cam-2019
  • First Selife Beauty Camera & Photo Editor
  • Flower Beauty Camera
  • Fog Selife Beauty Camera
  • Funny Sweet Beauty Camera
  • Gaty Beauty Camera
  • Grass Beauty Camera Lite Beauty Camera
  • Little Bee Beauty Camera
  • Mood Photo Editor & Selife Beauty Camera
  • Orange Camera
  • Pand Selife Beauty Camera
  • Photo Collage & Beauty Camera
  • Pinut Selife Beauty Camera & Photo Editor
  • Pro Selfie Beauty Camera
  • Rose Photo Editor & Selfie Beauty Camera
  • Selfie Beauty Camera Pro
  • Selife Beauty Camera & Photo Editor
  • Solu Camera
  • Sun Pro Beauty Camera
  • Sunny Beauty Camera
  • Vanu Selife Beauty Camera
  • Yoroko Camera

The apps had a total of 20 million downloads and share three fraudulent characteristics. First, they display ads without permission, often in a way that makes it hard to spot which app is responsible.

Second, they automatically redirect devices to access web pages without the user's permission. Finally, they hide the app icon to make it harder to spot and remove the apps. (Source: express.co.uk)

How to Uninstall the Rogue Apps

To check for and remove the apps, users need to open the Settings menu on their Android device, select "Apps & notifications" and then tap on "See all [number] apps". From here they can check the full list of installed apps and tap on any app to access the "Uninstall" option.

WhiteOps discovered the apps by spotting that the creators were remotely adding and removing malicious code after they'd been installed. That's most likely a test program to find ways of evading detection by Google's security vetting. (Source: whiteops.com)

What's Your Opinion?

Did you realize apps could hide their icons? Should Google automatically uninstall apps from phones and tablets when it removes them from the Play Store for security reasons? If it made that service optional, would you opt-in?

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pctyson's picture

I wonder if it is a "coincidence" that most of the apps have the name beauty in them. Could the apps with the name "beauty" in them all be coming from the same source?.... Or could it be that by using the word beauty in the name it feeds off the ogotism of these present times...just wondering.