Security

Hundreds Of Android Flashlight Apps Demand Unnecessary Permissions

Google has been tightening up its security checks for applications on the Play Store for quite a while. Yet, these efforts do not really seem fruitful with regardk to permissions that applications request. Recently, researchers have spotted numerous Android flashlight apps seeking weird device permissions.

Researcher from Avast, Luis Corrons, has pointed out hundreds of Android Flashlight apps seeking unnecessary permissions. Elaborating the details in a blog post, the researcher stated that he found these flashlight applications requesting permissions which seem unrelated to the apps’ functionality. As stated in his blog post,

He tested 937 flashlight apps that once existed or still exist on the Play Store. While he noticed 7 of such apps having unwanted behavior, the rest 930 were seemingly ‘clean’. Yet, most of them required needless access to device functionalities. Specifically 408  tested apps requested 10 or fewer permissions. Whereas, around 262 of these apps requested as many as 50 permissions, of which 77 are still active on the Play Store.

What’s more alarming is that there are some apps that request as many as 77 permissions.

Apps Requesting Most Permissions
No.App NamePermissions CountNumber of Downloads
1Ultra Color Flashlight77100,000
2Super Bright Flashlight77100,000
3Flashlight Plus761,000,000
4Brightest LED Flashlight — Multi LED & SOS Mode76100,000
5Fun Flashlight SOS mode & Multi LED76100,000
6Super Flashlight LED & Morse code741,000,000
7FlashLight – Brightest Flash Light711,000,000
8Flashlight for Samsung70500,000
9Flashlight – Brightest LED Light & Call Flash681,000,000
10Free Flashlight – Brightest LED, Call Screen68500,000

According to Corrons, the purpose of such permissions for a flashlight app are ‘hard to explain’. These include,

Source: Avast

Upon further investigation of the apps, the researcher believes that most of these apps link back to only a few developers. Moreover, some of these merely had different Developer IDs.

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