Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Technology | By Christopher Mann

Malware Infected Apps Return To Haunt Google Play Store

Malware Infected Apps Return To Haunt Google Play Store

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating accusations Google is using as much as AU$580 million (NZ$626 million) worth of Australians' phone plan data annually to secretly track their movements.

Transferring that information to Google means using up gigabytes of data that consumers have paid for under data packages purchased from local telecom service providers, according to the Oracle report. Oracle also found that Google could also be gathering round 1GB of person data monthly.

Google Maps
GOOGLEThe app loaded with malware from the Google Play Store can disguise itself as Google Maps

The Australian investigation is the latest privacy concern around Google's operations and comes after Facebook suspended 200 apps as the investigation into its data misuse following the Cambridge Analytica scandal begins.

Symantec goes to give an example of "Android.Reputation.1" malware which appears to be "hidden in at at least seven apps in the U.S".

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The company gets detailed information about people's searches on the internet and their location if they have an Android phone - the Google mobile operating system.

With the EU General Data Protection Regulation set to come into force in just 11 days' time Google could also face further privacy investigations in Europe. It has even emphasized that the search engine giant has mapped IP addresses, mobile towers, and WIFI connection points, enabling Google to identify where a device is either connecting or attempting to connect without making use of the smartphone's site service. This to help it earn more advertising dollars.

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The Dashboard, which will be coming to a future version of Android P, shows how this will work: metrics to provide the basis for a more grounded knowledge base of how you use your phone on a day-to-day basis.

Fortune quoted Google's response: "Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user". According to him, "The ACCC met with Oracle and is considering information it has provided about Google services".

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Google says users are also able to control what ads they receive. That's because the Global Positioning System is only the most accurate source of location data - if a Wi-Fi hotspot is known to Google, for example, then logging into it will give the company a fairly accurate location for a device.

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