Smartphones nowadays are already built-in with a flashlight feature. Whether it be the premium or entry-level ones, this feature is just a click away. However, digital distribution platforms contain a lot of flashlight apps. Google’s Play Store has tons.
You will be shocked that a flashlight application requests for over 25 permissions on various data on your smartphone on average per year. And while these may be harmless, you will be surprised that they have special features that no ordinary flashlight application should have.
Flashlight apps on Android could be doing more than just flashing lights
Avast security researcher Luis Corrons has analyzed permissions requested by 937 flashlight apps in the Google Play Store, including the ones that are still available on the platform and the ones that are not.
Corrons found that on average, each app requested 25 separate permissions. Meanwhile, Ultra Color Flashlight and Super Bright Flashlight requested 77 permission. And six other requested 70 permissions or more.
The very basic idea of gaining permission by apps is to access data or features on your device so these apps can work properly. Over the past years, however, an increasing number of apps have been trying to gain access to user’s call records, contacts, emails, cameras, photos, and even location.
“Some of the permissions requested by the flashlight apps are really hard to explain, like the right to record audio, requested by 77 apps; read contact lists, requested by 180 apps; or even write contacts, which 21 flashlight apps request permission to do,” Corrons wrote in his report, which was posted in an Avast blog earlier this week.
Android security warning: delete these flashlight applications on your phone now
Out of the 900+ flashlight apps Corrons analyzed, only seven of those were found to be malicious. Most of the apps just showed ads. Nevertheless, many of these flashlight apps already have enough system privileges to be able to easily steal the user’s personal information.
But it is never too late, below are the ten most malicious flashlight apps, according to Corrons. If you still have them on your device, remove it immediately.
- Ultra Color Flashlight
- Super Bright Flashlight
- Flashlight Plus
- Brightest LED Flashlight — Multi LED & SOS Mode
- Fun Flashlight SOS mode & Multi LED
- Super Flashlight LED & Morse code
- FlashLight – Brightest Flash Light
- Flashlight for Samsung
- Flashlight – Brightest LED Light & Call Flash
- 1Free Flashlight – Brightest LED, Call Screen
Many users tend to get too excited when installing a new app. They end up giving permissions to whatever the app has been asking for. According to Avast, there is a gray area when it comes to flagging apps requesting too many permissions as malicious. And because users grant themselves the permissions, many security solutions do not mark them as malicious.
When it comes to these flashlight apps, users should be very wary in granting it permissions. If requests are not related to the app’s function, then you should not probably grant it. But just to secure your data, delete all your flashlight applications now (even those who are not on the ten malicious apps). As mentioned, smartphones nowadays already have built-in flashlights.