It turns out your smartphone flashlight app could be doing more than lighting up your surroundings.
Security experts say some of the most popular flashlight apps for Android phones could be stealing data from your phone, including your location, phone number, contacts list or, potentially, your mobile banking information.
According to cybersecurity company SnoopWall, the top 10 Android flashlight apps all have malware or spyware that put users at significant risk of identity theft.
SnoopWall’s Gary Miliefsky told KRMG it’s a red flag if your flashlight app takes up a big chunk of memory on your phone.
“Look for a flashlight app that’s under a hundred kilobytes, because the ones that spy on you and tell you their file size, they’re 1.2 megabytes to 5 megabytes,” Miliefsky says. “Those are big files to just turn the light on and off.”
SnoopWall recommends uninstalling your flashlight app immediately. Click here to see the surprising permissions the top Android flashlight apps require. SnoopWall said:
Because some of the flashlight apps write settings and have access to your device storage, it may be to install additional backdoors or remote access Trojans (RATs), therefore you might need to reset your phone completely after an uninstall of your favorite flashlight app. Some might even wish to go to factory reset or a wipe.
According to SnoopWall, the flashlight app preinstalled on iPhones appears to be safe, but if you download a third-party Android app, you’re at risk.
“Windows and Apple iOS flashlights behave in a similar fashion, however, [they are] more restricted in their spying capabilities due to the hardened OS features of Windows 8.1RT and Apple iOS 7 & 8,” SnoopWall said.
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