Wednesday 25 May 2022
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Muslim apps stealing data: French media raises alarm during Ramadan

The French media is inviting smartphone users excluded from Chinese company Huawei's Play Services to check whether their Muslim apps are still available on the Google Play Store

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This case began in October 2021 when the two founders of the AppCensus organisation, Serge Egelman and Joel Reardon, alerted Google to a hidden code in applications promoting Muslim rituals, some of which have more than 10 million downloads. But it was only on 25 March after an internal investigation that Google ended up blocking and removing a dozen Muslim -promoting applications, the most prominent of them being…

  1. Muslim prayer apps (Al-Moazin Lite, Ramadan 2022, Al Quran Mp3…)
  2. Utility applications (Radar radar, Handcent Next SMS/MMS, WiFi mouse, etc)

The list was not exhaustive, but if one of the Muslim prayer applications was deleted on 25 March, it was certainly one of them. However, the French media is inviting people in possession of smartphones excluded from Play Services (the Chinese Huawei for example) to check that their applications are still available on the Google Play Store. Tech mediums are offering the following alternative.

Muslim Pro: Ramadan, Quran
Muslim Pro: Ramadan, Quran is an application that allows Muslims to track their prayers, access the writings of the Koran (or Quran), know their orientation through a Qibla compass, etc.Release date: 30/03/2022
Author: Bitsmedia Pte Ltd
License: Free License
Categories: Leisure
Operating system: Android – iOS iPhone / iPad / Watch

A Panamanian company created and distributed a code allowing the recovery, on behalf of a subcontractor of a government agency in the United States, of numerous sensitive data such as telephone numbers, emails, geolocation, etc.

Worse still, the code is able to identify devices connected to the same WiFi network as that of the victim, making it possible to retrieve information about his surroundings. This information makes it difficult to estimate the number of victims and adds to the scale of the hack.

The method for achieving this is conventional. A company sells a feature, here a means of payment for advertising, and hides a piece of code in the kit (SDK).

The Federal Commission is now in charge of the investigation, but the conclusions will not be known for several months.

Translated from CNet France by Surajit Dasgupta

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