Google recently revealed that it had pulled dozens of apps from the Google Playstore. The decision was taken after discovering a secret code in the application that secretly stole the user’s personal data. Of the 11 deleted applications, of which there are 4 Islamic applications.
The code is connected to millions of Android devices. It has been found in four Islamic applications:
- AL Moazin
- Qibla Compass, which has been downloaded by more than 10 million users.
- Al Quran MP3
- Full Quran MP3
Agelman and Reardon, in their report released on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, said that they discovered the role of the Panama Company as the recipient of the stolen personal data. The company is known to run the Measurement System by paying app developers worldwide to commit crimes.
Researchers at International Computer Science, Serge Agelman and Joel Reardon of the University of Calgary, first revealed the findings. Through the company they founded, AppCensus, the two researchers found that hackers could steal personal data such as phone numbers, emails, and copy-pasted data through a unique set of codes known as SDKs.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the company’s Measurement Systems are linked through corporate records and web registrations to Virginia-based defense contractor Vostrom Holdings, which conducts cyberintelligence, network-defense, and intelligence-intercept work for U.S. national security agencies. The targeted data are mainly those from the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia.
According to a Google spokesman, Scott Westover, applications containing Measurement Systems software have been removed from Google Play since March 25, 2022. The removal was carried out because they were found to have violated Google’s rules by secretly collecting user data.
Westover added that apps could be re-entered once the software has been removed. Now, some have returned to the Playstore.
Although Google has taken steps to remove these applications, it is believed that it will not interfere with Measurement Systems’ ability to collect data from millions of phones worldwide, given the software already installed by many people.
Previously, Muslim Pro was also banned by Google for selling users’ personal data to the military.