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Google removes 813 creepy apps used to 'stalk, harass, defraud or threaten people'

By Mirror | May 22nd 2020

From Huawei to Samsung, Android smartphones are some of the most popular smartphones around the world.

But if you have an Android smartphone, a new report may urge you to reassess which apps you have installed.

Google has removed 813 ‘creepware’ apps from the Google Play Store that could have been used to stalk, harass, defraud or threaten users.

Researchers from New York University, Cornell Tech and NortonLifeLock developed an algorithm called CreepRank to analyse the apps.

They ran the algorithm against apps installed on more than 50 million Android smartphone to determine if any contained creepware.

The analysis identified 857 apps contained creepware, including 114 spoofing apps, 80 harassment apps, and 63 the contained hacking tutorials.

In their study, published online, the researchers wrote: “We discovered apps used for harassment, impersonation, fraud, information theft, concealment, and even apps that purport to defend victims against such threats.”

The team notified Google about the apps last summer, and based on the findings, Google removed 813 for violating its terms and conditions.

The researchers added: “As a result of our work, the Google Play Store has already removed hundreds of apps for policy violations.

“More broadly, our findings and techniques improve understanding of the creepware ecosystem, and will inform future efforts that aim to mitigate interpersonal attacks.”

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