In a drastic decision, Google has removed more than 813 creepware apps from the official Android Play Store. This step comes only after Google received research reports from a group of academics that were busy in their work to find the activities and impact of Creepware.
The report on the task was published this month online in a magazine under the title of ‘The Many Kinds of Creepware Used for Interpersonal Attacks.’ Google reached the decision only after finding the reports from renowned experts, New York University, Cornell Tech, and NortonLifeLock. The term ‘creepware’ comes into play in these reports. They define ‘creepware’ as a mobile app that does not have the features and characteristics of spyware or stalkerware, but the users can use it to harass, stalk, or threaten others either directly or indirectly.
To counter the impact of Creepware, the experts at Google have developed an algorithm, called CreepRank. The experts elaborately define how they worked days and nights to develop the algorithm. It is very effective in detecting the behaviors and activities of the Creepware inside the mobile applications. It, then, assigns a creep score to the said app.
The experts are of the view that all apps do not qualify as stalkerware or creepware. The expert at the research organization says to the news reporters, “During the research, we could find special characteristics that allow them to combine with one another, and then show intrusive or disturbing behaviors. Google finds these behaviors extremely unhealthy and unsafe. The CreepRank has continued its research on more than 50 million devices, specifically Androids, to identify the Creepware apps. The experts that developed CreepRank believe that Creepware apps were more effective on the data that NortonLifeLock had provided when the devices used mobile antivirus, Norton Mobile Security.
The work is very scientific. The CreepRank first tracked the Creepware and then calculated the Creep score that helped them to determine the ones that users utilize to abuse and harass users. The research professionals concentrated most on the specific apps that enabled harassment, hacking, and spoofing. The experts worked extensively for three consecutive years, from 2017 to 2019, to analyze more than 1000 apps and find out around 857 Creepware apps.
Taking the right information from the experts, Google removed these Creepware apps in September 2019 and validated the store to make it more dependable. NortonLifeLock has also decided to incorporate CreepRank in its antivirus products to minimize the risks henceforth.
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