Saturday, February 27, 2016

How to sell an Android app

Induce paranoia. From a viral email I received today:
This video is very Important if you are using the flashlight on your smartphone.

Wow, that interview on Fox News about the insecurity of Android flashlight apps being "bigger than ebola" sure was scary...

...Here's the second thing I found with Google:
'The saying goes “If you’re not paying for a product, you are the product” and that remains true when it comes to something as simple as a flashlight app. It’s also true of SnoopWall itself, which has been pushing its own flashlight app (as a replacement for all the ones that are trying to overthrow the U.S. government, naturally) and the oddly named Privacy App which is designed to highlight any other apps on your Android device that are a security risk and could do you harm. 
'While the app promises to “find all the apps that are spying on you,” the user reviews suggest it’s not doing much good. The entire front page of the app’s Google Play listing is filled with reviews saying that the app produces nothing but false positives. SnoopWall’s app highlights the Google Play Store app, the Google Maps app, and even proper antivirus software apps as being huge risks. If Google Maps is a virus, we're all in big trouble.
'In fact, with so many negative written reviews it was shocking to see that the app still holds an overall solid rating of around 3.5 out of 5. I did a bit of digging and found the reason for SnoopWall’s above average Play Store status. It seems the app score is being buoyed by a massive chunk of ratings that all landed at the same time, including one day where the app received nothing but perfect five-star reviews.'
Daily Dot

As always Snopes is a font of information:
'SnoopWall's "threat assessment report" suggested that flashlight apps are more prone to requesting access to unneeded permissions and data than any other category of app, but as Wired noted, many other types of apps "want access to information they probably shouldn't," and the fact that a given app has access to data doesn't necessarily mean the app is actually stealing that data and transmitting it to internatonal cybercriminals.'

FUD. Fake reviews. Bogusware.

And the icing on the cake: did you notice that the close-up in the video was of an iPhone, which has the flashlight function built-in?

iPhone, bitch