The Chinese company named Shenzhen HAWK is behind 24 apps which are known for containing malware and rogueware according to a new report by VPNPro. These apps have over 382 million combined installs and now have been removed from the Play Store.
Google in a statement to Forbes, said that they have removed all of the 24 apps in the Shenzhen network from the Play Store and that “If we find behaviour that violates our policies, we take action.”
To which Shenzhen Hawk’s parent company, TCL Corporation responded saying that they “understand Google’s actions in removing all of the Shenzhen apps and are actively working with them to better understand their concerns.” They also said that they are planning to hire an outside security consultant to audit their apps.
All of these apps took user permissions to gain access to various features like the ability to make calls, take pictures and record video, record audio and much more.
Some of these apps subscribed users to premium phone numbers leading to huge phone bill charges. Some would launch a hidden browser and click on ads. Some would harvest user data and store it on a server in China. These were just some of the issues that were taking place.
These malicious apps include: Super Cleaner developed by Hawk App, Hi Security developed by Hi Security, Candy developed by ViewYeah Studio, Super Battery developed by Hawk App, Gallery developed by Alcatel Innovative Lab, Hi VPN developed by Hi Security, Net Master developed by Hi Security, filemanager developed by mie-alcatel.support.
Apps that were not in Play Store: Calculator, Joy Recorder developed by mie-alcatel.support, Weather developed by mie-alcatel.support, Launcher developed by mie-alcatel.support.
Even though Google has removed these apps from the Play Store, a large number of users will still have these installed on their smartphones. If you are one of these users, we recommend that you immediately uninstall these from your smartphone.
Apps under Shenzhen HAWK have a history of malware, rogueware, or unethical practices. They also ask for a large amount of unnecessary dangerous permissions.
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