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Beware of the fake Narendra Modi app on Google Play Store

The fake app, which claims to be developed by the Government of India, automatically gets excessive permission including full network access and ability to take pictures and videos once downloaded.

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If you login to the Google Play Store right now, and search Narendra Modi app, you will find over a hundred apps that shows in the result, and most of them would have similar names and pictures. A user can be easily confused between these many apps. And that is in fact what has happened, and it has now taken a slightly scary turn. Internet expert Pranesh Prakash tweeted yesterday pointing out at a Narendra Modi app, which actually claims to be from the Government of India and its interface looks almost identical to the original application.

Prakash then decided to go deep in the matter, when he found that the app developer of the purported Government of India Narendra Modi app was actually a person based out of Bangladesh. This suggests that this app could be hosted by a con artist.

 

The ‘fake’ app, automatically gets excessive permission including full network access and ability to take pictures and videos once downloaded. The original Narendra Modi app, on the other hand, only gets access to read, modify and delete user’s media files. And if you look at the statistics of the two apps, the fake app was downloaded more than 1 lakh times and has an average rating of 4.4 from over 2,000 reviews. The original app has been downloaded over 5 million times, with an average rating of 4.7.

 

However, the concern here is, there are still over 1 lakh people out there who are using the fake Narendra Modi app, and are unknowingly giving the possibly-a-con-artist full access to their devices. Please note, the original app was published by Narendramodi.in and the fake one shows under the name of Government Of India. Along with this, there are scores of other apps trying to imitate the original.

In his further tweets, Pranesh shared an image with the developer details in focus, and questioned how users are supposed to differentiate between fake and genuine apps when even the official app was registered using a Gmail address. While the Government of India Narendra Modi app has been published using info@narendramodi.press, the one by Narendramodi.in has been published using a simple Gmail app.

Although Google constantly works on sieving the fake apps, it takes a while before they are spotted and recognized by Google Bouncer. In turn, before they are pulled down, they successfully confuse many users and trick them into installing their apps. Nevertheless, if a user is careful, they can avoid being tricked into the trap of fake apps. They can easily spot the original app from the fake ones by keeping in mind a few things.

To top the hoard of fake apps, yesterday it was found out that, a young app developer named Javed Khatri spotted a security flaw in Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi app. Playing the role of a white hat hacker, Khatri posted on social media tagging Narendra Modi, intimating him and his team of the issue. Khatri revealed that most of the application was secure, however he spotted a minor flaw that allowed him to slip past the defenses. And that minor loopholes allowed him to get past the security measures in place.
Reacting to the revelation by the Khatri, Pranesh Prakash also appealed that Narendra Modi’s team withdrew the app till the security issue was dealt with. ALSO READ: Developer reveals security flaw on Narendra Modi app

Additionally, Prakash also put out a tweet about the number of fake SBI apps that are up on the Play Store.

Further, while the official developers of the Modi Keynote app withdrew the app from the Play Store for being misunderstood by users, if you search right now, you would still fine at least 10 apps that play with the name Modi Keynote, like Modi Ki Note or Narendra Modi Keynote.

Not long ago, the government added some new features to its DigiLocker app for users to upload their driving license and vehicle registration papers. The whole idea of the app is to help users avoid carrying their original certificates with them all the time. The DigiLocker app, is essentially an online locker facility, where users can upload and save all their government-issued documents such as PAN card, Aadhar Card, college certificates, property documents and the likes, online. ALSO READ: Fake DigiLocker apps spotted on Google Play store, here’s how to spot the genuine app

However, recently, it was noticed that many fraudulent apps, that pose to be DigiLocker, have been spotted on Google Play. Going by the same name, these apps cash on the ignorance of some users. These fake apps have similar logos like the original app, some even have the Indian emblem on it, while others use Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo on them, which can easily confuse anyone.

  • Published Date: December 3, 2016 1:50 PM IST
  • Updated Date: December 3, 2016 1:51 PM IST