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12th May 2022

Thousands warned over new Russian-registered profile pic app harvesting personal data

Danny Jones

Thousands have already downloaded the app

Phone users are being warned against downloading and using the popular new profile picture editing app which makes their photo look like a cartoon or a painting after it has been revealed the company is registered in Russia.

Linerock Investments, the business behind the New Profile Pic app, is reportedly based in an apartment complex overlooking the Moscow River, not far from Russia’s own Ministry of Defence offices and supposedly just three miles from Red Square.

Until now, this was largely unbeknownst to the tens of thousands that have downloaded and shared images of themselves and other potentially sensitive details on the app.

According to Jake Moore, a Global Cybersecurity Advisor at ESET Internet Security, those downloading the app should be cautious when uploading photographs or any form of personal data – advice he says goes for any brand new website.

“This app is likely a way of capturing people’s faces in high resolution”, he told the MailOnline, adding while we cannot be certain of what data is being used for, he “would question any app wanting this amount of data, especially one which is largely unheard of and based in another country.”

New Profile Pic app registered in data

Elsewhere, Photo Lab – a high-profile competitor that has been providing similar photo-editing services since 2011 – assured The Independent that while they themselves also have offices in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, this is where a large proportion of “top management of the company and the managers of the majority of the projects” operate from.

In terms of the technology and the product itself, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but it’s quick and easy to use nature has seen thousands download in recent weeks. Moreover, while no clear data breach has been flagged at this time, it only takes instances like the Cambridge Analytica scandal to serve as a reminder to err on the side of caution.

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