WeChat

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What it does: WeChat is a messaging app

Offenses:

  • Privacy concern

To the surprise of no one, WeChat has confirmed that it lets the Chinese government see all of its users data. If you don’t live in China you probably haven’t heard of WeChat, but it is an essential application for people in China because not only is it the most used chat app it is also used for payments and as a sort of Snpachat replacement. So if you don0t want the chinese government to know what you say, see or buy then we suggest you don’t install this app.

Alternatives: Telegram, Signal,SMS

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GO Keyboard

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What it does: GO Keyboard is a keyboard replacement app with extra features

Offenses:

  • Privacy Concern
  • Questionable Permissions
  • Naughty Dev
  • Virus

We’re well acquainted with the developer GOMO Apps here on Android Blacklist, in fact, they are one of our naughty developers because they have an history of shady apps. As it turns out all 3(!) versions of GO keyboard spy on its users AND on top of that offers plugins that are known adware. According to the original article, GO keyboard shares your “Google account email in addition to language, IMSI, location, network type, screen size, Android version and build, device model, etc.”

Keyboard replacements are great, but you really do have to be careful with them because they can easily log whatever you type into them and in this case your device info.

Alternatives: SwiftKey, Fleksy, Gboard, Fleksy, MultiLing Keyboard

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Sarahah

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What it does: Sarahah lets users anonymously provide “feedback” to other users.

Offenses:

  • Privacy Concern

Sarahah lets random anonymous users leave comments on your profile, kind of like a more convoluted ask.fm and it’s been one of the fastest growing apps this year, getting more than ten million installs in under 2 months. However, Zachary Julian found that as soon as you start the app it uploads your entire contact list and email address book to its servers which is a huge privacy concern. Unfortunately, if you’ve already installed Sarahah then there’s nothing you can do, but I would advise you to uninstall the app.

Alternatives: No safe alternatives known

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AccuWeather

What it does: Accuweather provides weather forecasts
Offenses:
  • Privacy Concern 

While it is a very well designed app that works beautifully and despite it being my personal go to free weather forecast app I can no longer recommend people AccuWeather. AccuWeather was found sharing user location data with a third party even if the user chooses to not disclose its location, which is a very, very serious offense. That was almost a week ago, but today a report came out that said that despite updating their app AccuWeather was still disclosing user location data, which is simply inexcusable. While all these findings where made on the iOS(iPhone) version of the app we now have strong reasons to doubt AccuWeather is securely handling user data.

Alternatives: Weather Timeline(Paid), Weather Channel(free), your local weather institution app

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PSA: Malicious ad network

Hello everyone, this is more of a heads up than a blacklisted app:
Recently lookout.com found around 500 apps that used an ad network that allowed malicious users to download and run code on your phone. The apps themselves may not be intentionally  harmful so I’m no blacklisting them, but you should still update your apps because a few of them have been updated to remove the malicious ad network. Other malicious apps have been removed from the play store so check if any of your apps have suddenly vanished from the store.
Unfortunately lookout did not provide a list of the infected apps, they’ve only provided screenshots of two apps that have already removed the ad network, these apps are “Lucky Cash” and “Selfie City”, so if you have any of these two installed please update them immediately.
If you’d like a more in-depth look at this issue please read the original source.

TL;DR: Update your apps now, non malicious apps may have unintentionally malicious ad networks.

Android Blacklist has no ties whatsoever to lookout, but we felt the need to warn our visitors.
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Mobile Security & Protection (Web of Trust)

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What it does:  Mobile Security & Protection “protects” you against viruses and malicious websites

Offenses:

  • Privacy concern

Mobile Security & Protection is the app version of the once often recommended web of trust extension which claims to make browsing safer by adding a security rating to every site, which is in theory a very good idea. In practice though, this app(and the original browser extension) must collect user browsing data for it function and Web Of Trust were caught red handed selling user data to third parties and as if that wasn’t bad enough the data WASN’T anonymized! Having your data sold online is almost a given, but most companies at least have the courtesy to anonymize it, but Web Of Trust breaks all trust (irony!) by giving companies data about you with your name and email attached to it.

Alternatives: No alternatives known, use an adblocker on untrustworthy sites

 

Purify – Speed & Battery Saver

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What it does: Purify is a RAM cleaner/phone booster
Offenses:

  • Snake oil
  • Privacy concern
  • Intrusive ads
  • Questionable permissions

If you roted your phone with kingroot you probably have this app installed and don’t even know it. We’ve already discussed in previous reviews and on our apps guide why ram cleaners are placebo apps, but this one takes the cake because most of the times it is installed it has root permission which allows it to really wreak havoc in your phone if it wants to. As most apps of this kind its main purpose is to collect data and sell ads which is why it earned its second and third offenses.

Alternatives: Android cleaners are redundant, android does housekeeping by itself. That said, SD Maid or CCleaner are good apps

Facemoji Emoji Keyboard – Cute Emoji,Theme,Sticker

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What it does: Facemoji is a replacement for your stock android keyboard .

Offenses:

  • Questionable permissions
  • Privacy concern

 

Facemojis distinguishing feature is that it allows it to use emojis, like literally every other keyboard app available in the Play Store. The difference is that the makers of emoji keyboard are total newcomers to the scene and give us absolutely no security when installing their app. A keyboard app is one of the app that you really need to trust in because you use it to input all your personal data. Facemoji is a bloated slow app with bright flashy themes and big moticons aimed at kids that don’t know any better. This keyoard app also ass for camera,contacts and telephone permissions which only leaves me even more uncomortble than I was before.

Alternatives: Gboard, Swiftkey

Indian Browser

What it does: Indian Browser is a web browser
Offenses:
  • Privacy concern
  • Intrusive ads
Indian browser is an app that preys on the ingenuity of ingenuity of Indians that love their country. This browser is mostly devoid of actual features, lacking even the most basic ones like tabbed browsing. It has a permanent undismissable banner ad that obstructs a decent part of any page you’re viewing and also shows fullscreen ads every time you open the app. By default it has a permanent almost useless notification, altough that can be disable within the settings. If you touch the about submenu it shows that this browser was made with an app making website that makes canned apps, so the guy that owns this app didn’t even write it. We don’t know if this app collects data, but users shouldn’t take the risk.

 

Xender

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What it does: Xender is a file sharing application
Offenses:
  • Intrusive ads
  • Privacy concern

Xender’s core concept is a really neat idea, it essentially makes file transfers between phones really easy. However, this concept is completely ruined by their business model. Before you even get into the app it asks you to enable a feature that price checks products, which is not what I downloaded the app for. After that it scanned every single app on my phone, which also left me very uncomfortable. The main screen is basically a huge banner ad with some info tucked away and this is one of the apps reported for lockscreen ads. If all that wasn’t enough it also has a section that is literally just ads and a Bollywood music downloading service(?). Why anyone would want all this on a file sharing app is beyond me

Alternatives: Send Anywhere,NFC, Bluetooth, Dropbox, Google Drive, most messaging apps.