In the last few days, we’ve been seeing ‘transformed’ photos of our friends into Chinese, Korean or Japanese heroes and heroines in our news feeds in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts. These photos are attactive and all but experts warn that the photo editing software used may gather your personal information that may render you vulnerable to online security threat.
The app concerned is the Chinese-developed Pitu App, which allows users to transform into Chinese heroes and heroines using its fun filters, photo editing properties and other playful features. But users must think twice before downloading the app because of the possible security threat.
What are the danger of installing Pitu app?
By installing the app, users allow the app creators and infra untethered access to personal information in your smart phone such as your location, phone number, cellular network information, and access log files which contain user’s private information. Most of these information obtained have nothing to do with the purpose of the app. Further, installing the app may increase the risk of having your pictures leaked online or having your social media accounts hacked.
“When you install Pitu, you allowed the Chinese guys behind it to know your exact location, access your pictures, access your call logs, read your messages, record phone conversation and listen to it, know everything about your device, know what apps you have, send SMS and subscribe to paid services and possibly take control over your phone,” says Art Samaniego Jr. of Manila Bulletin Tech News in his Facebook page.
This was not the first time that the app was doubted for possible data leakage and privacy infringement. Last May, app developers, Tencent, had to issue an official statement assuring users that they would not use or archive users’ uploaded photos or personal information when promoting face swap games. The company’s statement was issued following fear over the application’s recent face swap HTML5 game that went viral during this year’s China’s Youth Day on May 4.