Beware dangerous fake version of FaceApp

FaceApp has become a viral sensation over the past week, with both Android and iOS users downloading the application to take selfies and pass them through the program’s age filter.

The app uses machine learning features to analyse a self-portrait picture and output an altered version which predicts how you would look if you were much older.

A range of other features is also available, including background replacement, colour filters, beard filters, and more.

FaceApp has been trending worldwide, with many smartphone users trying out the software.

While this is a lot of fun for users, it also makes them easy prey for scammers and hackers.

Malicious applications

Security concerns over the legitimate version of the app aside, Kaspersky has identified a fraudulent FaceApp application which is designed to install malware on the victim’s device.

The app masquerades as the real FaceApp, but upon startup, it delivers an error message and is removed from the device.

The software includes an adware module named MobiDash, which secretly remains installed on the user’s smartphone and begins displaying adverts and collecting data on the victim.

Kaspersky said that around 500 users have fallen victim to this attack in the last two days, with almost 800 different module modifications identified.

“The people behind MobiDash often hide their adware module under the guise of popular applications and services,” said Kaspersky researcher Igor Golovin.

“This means that the activities of the fake version of FaceApp could intensify, especially if we are talking about hundreds of targets in just a few days.”

“We urge users not to download applications from unofficial sources and to install security solutions on their devices to avoid any damage,” Golovin said.

Security concerns

Hackers and fraudsters often take advantage of viral trends like this to try and trick users into exposing information or installing their software.

Smartphone users should beware of what software they install on their device, whether they are running Android or iOS.

The legitimate version of FaceApp has also raised a number of privacy concerns – particularly in the United States – around its access to user photos.

FaceApp is run by a Russian developer and its behaviour towards user data is similar to other photo editing apps.

The application sends the image you take to FaceApp’s servers, where it is processed and filters are applied to the image before it is sent back.

If users are concerned over exactly what they are agreeing to when using the app, they should ensure they read the app’s privacy policy carefully.

Now read: Google removes stalking apps from Play Store

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Beware dangerous fake version of FaceApp