Google has removed a number of apps from Play store after they were found to contain malicious code that was harvesting users’ phone numbers, email addresses and locations.
Among the apps are a QR code scanner, a weather app and some Muslim Prayers apps. According to Google, some of them have been downloaded more than 10 million times. .
The app was secretly transferring users’ personal data, including their phone’s unique IMEI identifying number, to Measurement Systems in Panama, which was linked back to Vostrom Holdings in Virginia, US.
“All apps on Google Play must comply with our policies, regardless of developer. When we determine an app violates these policies, we take appropriate action, ” a Google spokesperson told the BBC.
Google earlier indicated that all apps have to be clear regarding data collected from users. The tech giant announced in December 2021 that all apps which failed to comply with its data policy risk being banned from the play store.
Researchers who discovered the problem said that the apps contained a software development kit (SDK) that sent private data to a third party.
Apps that have been banned for illegally capturing user data can apply to be reinstated in the Google Play Store provided the offending code is removed, according to a Google spokeswoman.