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Apps Generating Untraceable International Phone Numbers ?






Applications that generate international phone numbers that are super difficult to track are being employed by cyber criminals to rip people off.

A recent victim that had called the cyber-crime branch complained that they received a call from two spate numbers one with 001 and the other with 0063 as the country codes.

Per sources the app stores happen to contain 40 to 60 such apps through which cyber-cons could easily get these numbers.

Sources mentioned that allegedly “Dingtone” is an app via which a user can easily sift through a variety of country codes which are absolutely untraceable.

These cases according to the cyber-crime branch aren’t categorized separately but these are surely being registered and deliberated upon.



According to the cyber-security researchers a minimum of 500 cases come into existence per day in India alone with 40 cases pinning on major cities.

The police lack the technological efficiency as well as resources to possibly track the users of such applications. There is also a matter of jurisdiction.

Mostly, the above-mentioned apps are ‘not’ developed by Indian initiators but ironically originated from countries that have strict laws on removal of apps.

Information of the caller could seemingly be obtained by requesting the telecom service providers as such services are always linked together.

However, requesting the details of the callers from a telecom service provider abroad is extremely time-consuming. Besides, the CBI would require Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with that very country.

As of now, such treaties exist with only 39 countries. In addition some countries could also demand a court order and furthermore the procedure in itself takes six to eighteen months.

Google removes 16 apps infected by 'Agent Smith' malware

Every now and then, Android keeps getting visited from deadly malware attacks that put user and their data at lots of risks. This time, it's a new malware called Agent Smith and like its name, this malware is sneaky in what it's designed to do - bombard your phone with ads. Agent Smith also has properties to stick to other apps installed on the phone and ensure that the malware infection stays the same. The malware was first detected by Check Point and after working with Google, the infected apps have been removed from Google Play Store.

After it was informed of the infection, Google has identified and removed 16 apps from the Play Store that are known to be infected by Agent Smith. These apps are no longer available for download from the Play Store and there won't be further updates for these apps via the Play Store. However, Google can only remove the app from the Play Store but it can't wipe these apps from an individual's Android phone. Hence, if you have the following apps installed on your Android phone, you should uninstall them immediately.

Ludo Master - New Ludo Game 2019 For Free

Sky Warriors: General Attack

Color Phone Flash - Call Screen Theme

Bio Blast - Infinity Battle Shoot virus

Shooting Jet

Photo Projector

Gun Hero - Gunman Game for Free

Cooking Witch

Blockman Go: Free Realms & Mini Games

Crazy Juicer - Hot Knife Hit Game & Juice Blast

Clash of Virus

Angry Virus

Rabbit Temple

Star Range

Kiss Game: Touch Her Heart

Girl Cloth Xray Scan Simulator

However, Agent Smith can cling on to other popular apps and make it difficult for users to identify which app has been affected by it. Two most popular apps in India include WhatsApp - through which it has infected 1.5 crore Android phones, and Flipkart.

Over 2,000 malicious apps exists on Play Store

If you thought that the quality control issues plaguing the Google Play Store for Android were finally being ironed out, it couldn't be further from the truth. A two-year-study by the University of Sydney and CSIRO’s Data61 has come to the conclusion that there are at least 2,040 counterfeit apps on Google Play Store. Over 2,000 of those apps impersonated popular games and had malware. The paper, a Multi-modal Neural Embedding Approach for Detecting Mobile Counterfeit Apps, was presented at the World Wide Web Conference in California in May documenting the results.

The study shows that there is a massive number of impersonated popular gaming apps available on Play store. They include fake versions of popular games such as Temple Run, Free Flow and Hill Climb Racing. The study investigated around 1.2 million apps on Google Play Store, available in Android, and identified a set of potential counterfeits for the top 10,000 apps.

Counterfeit apps impersonate popular apps and try to misguide users`. “Many counterfeit apps can be identified once installed. However, even a tech-savvy user may struggle to detect them before installation,” the study says.

It also points out that fake apps are often used by hackers to steal user data or infect a device with malware. “Installing counterfeit apps can lead to a hacker accessing personal data and can have serious consequences like financial losses or identity theft,” reads a blog post by the university.

The study also found that 1,565 asked for at least five dangerous permissions and 1407 had at least five embedded third-party ad libraries.

To investigate these applications on Google Play store the researchers used neural networks.

Google has acknowledged the problem of “malicious apps and developers” in a blog post by Google Play product manager Andrew Ahn on February 13, 2019.

According to Google, the company now removes malicious developers from Play store much faster when compared to previous years. The company says that in 2018 it stopped more malicious apps from entering the store than ever before.

A Google spokesperson, in response to a TOI email, said, “When we find that an app has violated our policies, we remove it from Google Play.”

WhatsApp for Business: Standalone App Set for Release

It seems like WhatsApp is finally ready to launch its new standalone app for businesses to interact separately on their platform. In an FAQ on its website, it detailed how WhatsApp for Business is going to work and its features. 

The interface of the app remains the same, but the features afforded to businesses differ from the original messaging app. 

To communicate with customers using this new messaging app, businesses will first have to register using their business number, separate from their normal WhatsApp messenger number. Once they are registered, they will have a ‘business account’ which will be marked by a gray question mark symbol beside their name showing that the business has neither been confirmed or verified by WhatsApp.

Once a business confirms their business number, they become a ‘confirmed account’ and a gray tick appears next to their name. A green check-mark means it is a ‘verified account’ used by a business that is authentic and verified by WhatsApp. 

The new app is already live in Play Store but is yet to be released to general public. 

Back in September, WhatsApp announced that it was experimenting and beta-testing ‘WhatsApp Business’ with few pilot-testers. Users may remember communicating with brands like BookMyShow, MakeMyTrip, or Goibibo using the messaging app.


Kshitija Agrawal