Google has removed 29 malicious camera apps from the Google Play Store according to security company Trend Micro. Researchers identified 29 Android camera apps, many of them 'beauty apps,' that compromised user security, including presenting full-screen malicious advertisements when the user's phone was unlocked and potentially keeping user images on remote servers.
Of the 29 apps, 11 were downloaded more than 100,000 times, and of those instances, three were downloaded more than 1,000,000 times. The three removed apps with the highest download numbers were Pro Camera Beauty, Cartoon Art Photo, and Emoji Camera. Other removed apps include Art Editor, Super Camera, Art Effects for Photo, Art Effect, Prizma Photo Effect, and Pixture.
According to Trend Micro, some of the apps took steps to conceal their malicious nature, as well as hiding its icon so that users would struggle to uninstall it. "A user downloading one of these apps will not immediately suspect that there is anything amiss, until they decide to delete the app," the company explained in its report.
Though it can be difficult to determine whether an app is malicious, users are advised to review existing user reviews before downloading for any warnings from others about potential security issues.