Google has downloaded several apps from its Play Store after Avast's cyber security company identified them as "most likely designed by a Russian developer to allow people to pursue employees, romantic partners or children," CNET said in a statement. Wednesday.
-List of Employees Check the Online Phone Spy Free, Spy Kids Tracker, Phone Cell Tracker, Mobile Tracker, Spy Tracker, SMS Tracker, and Spy staff – identified by Avast have been able to collect information including location, contacts , call logs, and text message content. According to BleepingComputer, they are also capable of intercepting messages sent to WhatsApp and Viber encrypted chat services if the target device is rooted. Avast writes that the seven applications are collectively installed over 130,000 times and includes instructions on how to "uninstall something noticeable to the phone owner", making them ideal for persecution. All that will be required will be access to the device in question.
One of the applications, the Office Spy Officer, is advertised as allowing employers to track the movements and activities of their staff during their working hours, according to Avast:
Finding an experienced employee is only half a task. The biggest challenge is to keep it faithful to the company and its mission. Many employees can simply skip work during office hours. People usually spy on children, but employees also need strict control.
The Spy Tracker application is advertised as allowing parents to keep complete sections about the child's activities, noting "It's better to talk to kids, but if you're not a good listener …"
According to CNET, Google has removed four of Tuesday's applications, and the other three on Wednesday after they were warned by Avast and found they had violated its commercial spyware policy. For example, cached versions of the Play Store page for Spy Tracker have had several reviews alleged to be from people who installed it on their spouse's phones without their consent. Another cached SMS Tracker page contains a review in which the user claims that the developer is a "pro-ethical hacker" before mentioning the app that helped him "trace a remote sms to my husband."