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October 10, 2014

Bumped/Updated: Debunked?
Cybersecurity Expert: The Ten Top Flashlight Apps For Your Phone All Contain Dangerous Malware

Update: @comradearthur tells me this story has been debunked by Snopes.

On 1 October 2014, cybersecurity company Snoopwall released a "threat assessment report" discussing flashlight apps for Android devices and security threats they may pose. According to Snoopwall (who recommends using their flashlight instead of competitors' apps) the list of permissions required by most flashlight apps is proof that the apps' makers are harvesting data and sending it abroad to cybercriminals.

A single flashlight app developer settled a complaint with the FTC over data collection policies in 2013. But the current anxiety over flashlight apps appears to have been prompted by the publicity surrounding the release of Snoopwalls' app rather than any specific breach of data security.

Flashlight apps are no riskier than any other app.

I don't know either way. Just giving you the information I now have.

Original post below.

...


And these apps can send your information to parties unknown in China, India, and Russia. In fact, he says that some are designed to do just that.

He says that some apps state in their terms and conditions that you are giving the app permission to geo-locate you and access your information. But no one reads this, and just hits "Accept."

One thing he recommends is just not downloading these apps. But if you insist on doing so, look for apps with small file sizes (100 KB or less). The malware flashlight apps have large sizes (1 to 5 MB). And you don't need that much code just to make your phone's display all white.

The report is here:

All of the applications below appear to obtain access and information way beyond the needs of a Flashlight. Some appear specifically designed to collect and expose your personal information to cybercriminals or other nation states. In addition, you are at significant risk if you are doing Mobile Banking on the same device as one of these free Flashlight Apps.

Our strong recommendation is to uninstall your flashlight app immediately.


Thanks to @Laurww.

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posted by Ace at 09:14 PM

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