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Wth! Isn't this dangerous?

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by whiteflag, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. whiteflag

    whiteflag Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Yesterday I downloaded the McAfee Mobile Security app for my Samsung phone and clicked ACCEPT after seeing all the permissions. After it was installed, I went into the app info and saw the following :-

    - the app can directly call phone numbers (this may cost you money) and reroute outgoing calls
    - edit your text messages
    - send SMS (this may cost you money)
    - modify your contacts and write call log
    - modify or delete the contents of your SD card
    - use accounts on the device
    - take pictures and videos
    (the above are some of the permissions that freaked me out)

    I understand that a virus program needs access to some info so that it can check for and delete a virus. I guess deleting a virus is what is meant by modifying, so I get that. But can someone please help me to understand the following :-

    a) For an app to be able to call numbers from your own contacts, or take pictures and/or videos without you knowing, send text message from your own phone without you knowing, etc etc... isnt this dangerous? Isnt it also some form of invading one's privacy?

    b) Does anyone find it ironic that all these permissions are asked for by a security software company and they are not open enough to explain in clear terms why they need these permissions?

    c) If I uninstall the McAfee app from my phone, will any residual files remain that have permissions or will the app be completely deleted?

    Appreciation in advance, thanks.

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  2. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert

    A-potentially dangerous, yes. You might consider this dev is large well known company, so not as much concern as small unknown dev. But still potential concern.

    B-yes, ironic. I find it all too common that excessive permissions are requested for what I need the app to do (often the permissions are for special features I don't need). Many OF these apps never end up installed on my phone because of permissions.

    C-we normally assume uninstalling would remove the program and any threats. Certainly it will minimize the threat. But malware might find tricky ways to open a back door or degrade security features of your phone. I would be most concerned about apps with root access leaving a threat after removal. Safest approach if you know you've been infected by malware is of course factory reset , but that is not required for mcafee imo
  3. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    It's because of the features of security apps.

    1. It needs call/sms sending permissions because it's going to automatically send a message to a specified number from your contacts that your phone has been lost, or has changed a sim, including it's approximate location via GPS.

    2. The edits to call logs, messages, contents and SD card permissions are for the wipe feature. You have to let it wipe your phone of private data in case it is compromised. You send the command via a call to a specific code number (which the app receives via your phone's cellular), or an SMS (hence the SMS permissions again).

    3. Use of camera is for taking pictures. Some of these apps use the front camera to take a picture of the person who inputted the wrong keypad lock code and send it as an email.

    They listed the features in the app page. Perhaps they had thought that those were explanation enough for the permissions?
    lunatic59 likes this.
  4. whiteflag

    whiteflag Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the replies.

    When installing, it asked for access to certain things like Contacts, Messages, Pictures etc etc but they dont say what they want it for. Thats what I found most strange.
  5. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Hello Whiteflag, welcome to Android Forums! :)

    If you are not rooted, uninstalling the app will remove it completely, but sometimes apps leave data files lurking about in case you decide to reinstall and wish to save your current settings. These should be able to be deleted manually removing any trace of the app.

    However, if you are rooted, it is possible that the app could modify system files and leave something nefarious about which even a factory reset won't clear. At that point to be sure, you will need to reflash the firmware with a clean, stock copy.

    Mind you, McAfee, while a rather intrusive app, should be relatively safe as far as malware. If privacy is a concern, then that's another animal. These security apps, IMHO, tend to monitor far too much.


    Messages, contacts and pictures can be vectors for infection, so it needs access to read and possibly quarantine/delete them if necessary.

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