Google bans Pakistan terror group's app from Google Play Store | Tech News

Google bans Pakistan terror group's app from Google Play Store

In a big development, Google has slapped a ban on a Pakistan terror group's app and removed it from Google Play Store.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 21:32 IST
Google ban
In what will be a massive setback for Pakistan, an app belonging to a terror group active on its soil, has just been banned by Google from Google Play Store. (REUTERS)

In what will be a massive setback for Pakistan, an app belonging to a terror group active on its soil, has just been banned by Google from Google Play Store. Google has removed the app from Google Play Store for having links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad. Google has removed the app from its Play Store as it violated its policies.

The Jaish-e-Mohammad-linked app, which now stands removed from the Play Store is called ‘Achi Bateen' and it had garnered over 5,000 downloads from the Android users. It was red-flagged to Google by India Today.

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The app camouflaged its operations by promoting Islamic teachings of several Pakistan-based religious leaders via its platform. And from the first glance, it did not seem to be associated with any terror outfit. However, it hosted two links on its page one of which contained soft copies of several books written by Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar. On the other hand, the second link on the developer page had voice recordings of the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar and close associate Talha Saif. In addition to this, the page also had old write-ups written by Azhar under the pen-name ‘Saadi'.

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Delhi-based digital lab, Innefu Labs, which carried out a technical analysis of the app for India Today, identified certain anomalies in the app's functionality. The application is connected to servers in the Contabo data centre based out of Germany.

“The app asked for permissions which were different from its functionality. This often happens when you want to add further functionalities to the app without asking for further permission from the users,” Tarun Wig, co-founder of Innefu Lab, which analysed the app, told the publication. He also said that the behaviour of the ‘Achi Bateen' app was similar to the UC Browser app that was banned in India last year.

The app accessed users' GPS location and it could start the process automatically when the smartphone had been booted.

The most dangerous part regarding the Jaish-e-Mohammad app was that it was programmed to run continuously in the background without letting the user of the phone know. In addition to location, the app also accessed a user's network and storage data along with media and other files.

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First Published Date: 29 Oct, 13:15 IST
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