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 Name||Permissions Count||Number of Downloads|
|1||Ultra Color Flashlight||77||100,000|
|2||Super Bright Flashlight||77||100,000|
|4||Brightest LED Flashlight — Multi LED & SOS Mode||76||100,000|
|5||Fun Flashlight SOS mode & Multi LED||76||100,000|
|6||Super Flashlight LED & Morse code||74||1,000,000|
|7||FlashLight – Brightest Flash Light||71||1,000,000|
|8||Flashlight for Samsung||70||500,000|
|9||Flashlight – Brightest LED Light & Call Flash||68||1,000,000|
|10||Free Flashlight – Brightest LED, Call Screen||68||500,000|
According to Corrons, the purpose of such permissions for a flashlight app are ‘hard to explain’. These include,
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.