Flashlight Apps

 

The Flashlight App Threat

There’s a problem with app developers as many aren’t upfront about the data they share and how it’s being sold over networks.  Take your smart phone for example, geolocation data shows where you live, work, everywhere you go.

Browsers use cookies, data files downloaded to computers that can be easily erased.  However, many mobile apps use unique identifiers such as the UDID (Unique Device Identifier) or IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity), nothing here to easily erase.

Flashlight apps have a nasty reputation for the extraction and collection of personal data.  Recently the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) went after the makers of “Brightest Flashlight” for deceiving users about how it shared personal data such as your location to advertisers.  The FTC settled with Brightest Flashlight, an app with over 50 million installs in December 2014.

Permissions are provided to Flashlight Apps that have nothing to do with their assumed purpose.  If you have any important information on your devices, if you perform Mobile Banking and have 3rd party Flashlight Apps. installed, we highly recommend you remove any such program immediately.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Best practices for protecting your devices from infection with spyware that could cause you hardship are to:

1. Disable GPS except when needed for emergencies or navigation.
2. Disable Bluetooth accept when using its services.
3. Permanently disable NFC (Near Filed Communications), on Apple disable iBeacon.
4. Be sure to read Apps privacy risk before installing Apps.
5. Cover your webcam and microphone or remove the battery from your device when not using it.

Some of the PERMISSIONS given to Flashlight Apps that should concern you are the following;

1. Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage.
2. Take pictures and videos.
3. View Wi-Fi connections.
4. Read phone status and identity.
5. Receive data from the Internet.
6. Disable your screen lock.
7. Read home settings and shortcuts.
8. Prevent device from sleeping.
9. View network connections.
10. Change system display settings.
11. Modify system settings.
12. Full network access.
13. Device location.
14. Install shortcuts.
15. Uninstall shortcuts.
16. Control vibration.

Some Flashlight Apps have access to your storage device and may be able to install backdoors or Trojans that may not be removed even after uninstalling a Flashlight program.  You may want to reset your phone or perform a factory reset or wipe.  This would be the best way to be sure your device is not infected and that you are not at risk.