Data Management

Android spyware with over 1.5 million downloads sends your data to China — delete these apps right now

Cybersecurity analysts uncovered two file management apps available on the Google Play Store that are actually spyware, putting the privacy and security of up to 1.5 million Android users at risk. So if you have one of the best Android phones with these apps installed, delete them right away.

The fishy apps are File Recovery & Data Recovery and File Manager, according to an alert this week from Pradeo, a leading mobile cybersecurity company. The apps, both from the same developer, are programmed to launch without any input from the user and quietly send sensitive user data to servers based in China. 

File Recovery & Data Recovery was downloaded more than 1 million times, and roughly 500,000 people installed File Manager, according to screenshots of their respective Play Store pages shared in Pradeo’s report. Per Bleeping Computer, Google only recently kicked the apps off the Play Store. 

Screenshots of the File Manager and File Recovery and Data Recovery apps in the Google Play Store

(Image credit: Pradeo)

While the apps say they don’t collect any data from the user’s device, it turns out this wasn’t the case. Pradeo’s behavioral analysis engine found the apps exfiltrate the following data: contacts saved in your device; email and social network contacts; pictures, audio and video compiled in the app; real-time user location; device brand and model; mobile country code; network provider name; and operating system version number. All without ever requesting permission to collect this information.

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