Security & Fraud

Meitu Selfie App May Compromise Users’ Security

Meitu’s selfie app is growing in popularity in the U.S., but the app asks for a lot of information that could put users’ security at risk.

Meitu, the selfie app that improves pictures by enabling beautifying effects to be added to the photos, is starting to take off in the U.S., and while it’s free to download, it could come at a cost: a user’s security.

That’s according to a TechCrunch report, which cited security experts as saying the app requires users to offer up more data from their phones than is needed for a photo app. What’s more, according to the report, the app has some “allegedly sketchy code.” Meitu isn’t the first app to let users download it in exchange for data off the phone, but with this one, privacy-conscious consumers may want to rethink using the app.

Greg Linares, an information security researcher, told TechCrunch the Android version of Meitu can access information about what other apps are running, the location of the user, the unique device identifier numbers, call information, carrier details and Wi-Fi connections. The iOS version of the app also seeks out a lot of data, forensic expert Jonathan Zdziarski said in the report. While Apple takes steps to stop apps from accessing a users’ IMSIs, Zdziarski said Meitu is receiving information about the cell carrier and whether or not the iPhone is jailbroken. Zdziarski added that some of the code in the app may violate Apple’s App Store policies having to do with collecting data. Apple did not respond to the report.

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