With cybersecurity attacks becoming much more prevalent, many users has opt to install “App Vault” or similar application to secure your data on your smartphone whether for your business or personal uses.
However, a new research from Cybernews shows that many of the popular Android data vault actually spy on the user and its data which sell your data to advertiser or other malicious use. Those so-called “privacy apps” even has the capability to access your photos and other private data or infecting your smartphone with adware and malware.
While you think that your data is moved to an “app vault” which will makes the app or its data inaccessible to others, you might doing yourself for hackers a favor for freely accessible and stolen data. In CyberNews’ research they found that none of the top 30 privacy vault apps is trusted even there are officially available on Google Play Store. As for iOS users, it is much less prevalent because each application is curated and checked before release.
According to Edvardas Mikalauskas, a senior cybersec researcher at CyberNews, he stated that
“Many free apps on Google Play engage in unethical advertising or simply steal your data and sell it for profit. Our research shows that privacy vault apps are in fact amongst the worst.
The worst offender is “Calculator Vault : App Hider – Hide Apps,” which requests a whopping 14 dangerous permissions, including knowing your GPS location, reading your photos, accessing your camera, body sensors, and even accessing your calendar.”
His team also advises on how to differentiate a dangerous privacy app from a trust-able one.
- App requesting too many permissions: if the app is designed to move files into specific location but it requires GPS location to do so.
- App developed by company you have never heard of
- When the product is free, you are the product
Here’s the recommendation by CyberNews to evaluate before downloading any app from Play Store:
- Make sures to check what permission required to function
- Google the app developer name and check for any possible bad recording
And this is the whole list of popular Android privacy app with dangerous permissions:
|App Name||Current ranking on
|Installs March 2020||# of dangerous permissions|
|Privacy Master – Hide, AppLock||#1||500,000||3|
|Video hider – privacy lock||#2||100,000||1|
|App Lock – Privacy lock||#3||500,000||2|
|Video Vault – photo hider & privacy keeper||#4||500,000||4|
|Sgallery – Hide photos, hide videos, gallery vault||#5||100,000||3|
|Vault – Hide Pics & Videos, App Lock, Free Backup||#6||50,000,000||9|
|LOCKit – App Lock, Photos Vault, Fingerprint Lock||#7||10,000,000||6|
|AppLock – Privacy Guard||#8||1,000,000||5|
|Private Photo, Video Locker||#9||5,000,000||7|
|Privacy AppLock – Apps & Photo & Fingerprint||#10||50,000||2|
|Lynx Privacy-Hide photo/video, Free 5GB Backup||#11||500,000||3|
|Calculator – Photo Vault hide photos & videos||#12||1,000,000||3|
|AppLock – Lock Apps & Privacy Guard||#13||1,000,000||3|
|Photo Vault PRIVARY: Hide Photos, Videos & Files||#14||1,000,000||3|
|Calculator Vault : App Hider – Hide Apps||#15||5,000,000||14|
|NEV Privacy – Files Cleaner, AppLock & Vault||#16||500,000||3|
|Hide Photos, Video and App Lock – Hide it Pro||#17||10,000,000||5|
|Calculator – Photo Vault & Video Vault hide photos||#18||5,000,000||3|
|Calculator Lock – Lock Video & Hide Photo – HideX||#19||10,000,000||4|
|LOCKED Secret Album = Hide Photo Vault, Video Safe||#21||50,000||3|
|Calculator Photo Vault – Hide Photos & Videos||#22||500,000||3|
|Keepsafe Photo Vault: Hide Private Photos & Videos||#23||50,000,000||3|
|Phantom.me: Invisible & complete mobile privacy||#24||100,000||6|
|AppLock – Lock Apps & Security Center||#25||1,000,000||7|
|Private Photo Vault||#27||10,000,000||7|
|Private App Lock||#28||100,000||2|
|Applock – Fingerprint Password||#29||10,000,000||3|
|Security Master – Antivirus, VPN, AppLock, Booster||#30||500,000,000||9|