Google bans biggest Chinese app developer from Google Play Store

Google bans biggest Chinese app developer from Google Play Store

Two of the apps, Spy Tracker, and SMS Tracker, were installed over 50,000 times each. The Internet giant removed all four of those apps, according to Avast, followed by another three the security company found and reported on Wednesday. All of the apps were subsequently removed by Google, but not before they had been installed a total of 130,000 times in aggregate. Google, hence, banned the app developer from the Play Store. The seven apps, all of which are believed to be built by a Russian developer, allows people to spy on others.

A new batch of malicious apps was detected in the Google Play Store by security vendor Avast, and this time the goal was to access information like the location of the user and collect contacts, SMS, and call history.

"These apps are highly unethical and problematic for people's privacy and shouldn't be on the Google Play Store", Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Avast's head of mobile threat intelligence and security, said in a statement. The firm discovered that the reported apps were all published by CooTek, and that they all contained the BeiTaAd adware.

The move will not affect current users of CooTek's apps, versions of which will remain available on Chinese app markets, the company added.

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The apps required the perpetrator to gain access to the target's phone and then install the app to begin spying.

So if someone manages to get access to your phone without your knowledge, they can install the app without you having any clue, and spy on you.

"Upon setup, there is no app icon, so the targeted person does not see any sign of the stalkerware app installed on their phone", said Avast. And equally worrying is how the apps offer the means for users to basically remove any hint that they might be on a target's phone.

The apps, whose names you can find at the end of the article, promised features to monitor employees and children.

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