People in Abilene are flooding Facebook with new profile pics made by an app called NewProfilePic. But, some reports are saying that the app is tied to Russia and could pose some security risks.

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Update May 12th, 2022: The fact-checking website Snopes, has debunked the theory that the app is some sort of malware scam.

There's little evidence to suggest that this app is any more invasive in its collection of user data than other apps. In sum, the claim that this app is unusually invasive is untrue. Its requested app permissions are similar to other mainstream apps. The claim that this app is stealing data for the Kremlin is also unsupported by evidence.- (Snopes)

Original Story

The app allows users to upload a photo which is then turned into a cool-looking avatar. I've seen a ton of people posting their new profile pics in the past few days using the app. Heck, I even did a photo myself. Now, I didn't download the app on my phone. I went to the website and turned my picture into a "work of art".

Installing the app means users agree to share their location, details about their device, and other info.

Apparently, the app has ties to Russia, and experts warn users that there may be some security risks involving stealing your data.

According to betanews.net, Jake Moore, global security advisor for ESET, an internet security company, seems to think there is something fishy going on.

This app is likely a way of capturing people's faces in high resolution and I would question any app wanting this amount of data, especially one which is largely unheard of and based in another country. - (via beta news)

After doing a little digging myself, I did find where the website is registered to a company called Linerock, which is based in Russia.


After the warnings went out on this app, the people behind the app apparently were able to go in and
change the registration location

Other Twitter users chimed in stating the app was a scam.

 


What does all of this mean?

I have to say, I have yet to see a major news outlet pick up this story, so whether or not it is truly a scam is yet to be confirmed. Still, Russia did do this once before back in 2018 with FaceApp where it was determined that data was being sent back to Russia. So, it wouldn't surprise me if this does turn out to be some sort of data phishing scam.

I guess the safe thing to do is just be careful what you download on your phone. That said, be sure to download our free app. We promise we are not from Russia and not trying to scam anyone.

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