Malicious Flashlight App? The Surprising Truth

Have you downloaded a flashlight app? According to this video, it could be secretly malicious, stealing information from your phone. Watch the video below:

 

Gary Miliefsky is the CEO of SnoopWall, a company centered around cybersecurity. According to this news segment, flashlight apps downloaded from your mobile device’s app store may be snooping into your phone’s files and sending information to other countries. Miliefsky says taken data taken from smartphones through flashlight apps has been tracked and recorded as being sent to countries such as China, India, and Russia. This segment says top flashlight apps that practice this have had lawsuits filed against them and have since settled. The agreement was that a privacy clause needs to be presented before download. With over 25 pages of legal jargon stating this, though, most scroll to the bottom and hit “Accept” without reading a word.

How can we combat this? There are some simple fixes. Miliefsky recommends looking into your flashlight app if you already have one. If it is over 100 KB in storage on your phone, drop it immediately. If you want to download a flashlight app, also be sure that it is under 100 KB. If you did indeed download one of these apps, backup your phone’s information, such as pictures and contacts, take the phone to your provider, and ask for a factory reset. This will wipe everything from your phone as if you were getting it brand new for the first time, and in turn, clear out any malicious activity.

This also brings up a good point on Terms & Conditions. Although they are long and often difficult to understand, information can be hidden in there that you may want to know, such as that your information may be shared. It may be worth looking into to utilize your Find feature (⌘ + F on Mac, Ctrl + F on Windows) to search words like “share” and see what pops up. In addition, installing antimalware on your devices is a good move towards heightened cybersecurity. Check out our device safety blog post to learn more about this.

If you’re still nervous about downloading a flashlight app, Miliefsky also recommends skipping the download altogether and opting for a good old-fashioned flashlight. Odds are, you have a tiny keychain flashlight in a junk drawer somewhere, spyware-free.

 

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