Watching you Thousands of Android apps that could get access to a smartphone's audio and also record call logs were deployed this year, with at least three that made their way into the Google Play store, according to a blog post from security firm Lookout. But the apps themselves were hardly playful, able to gain control of a camera and snap pictures, make outgoing calls, send text messages, and get information including phone logs. And the apps hide this information from users — they're not aware that their phone has been hijacked.

The apps are part of a family called SonicSpy, but marketed under different names including Hulk Messenger and Troy Chat, both of which, reportedly, been removed. But of concern is the app developers' ability to even get the spyware into Google Play's store. "The actors behind this family have shown that they're capable of getting their spyware into the official app store and as it's actively being developed, and its build process is automated, it's likely that SonicSpy will surface again in the future," says Lookout on its blog.

Lookout alerted Google to the apps presence, which also included a messaging app called Soniac, which has also been removed. The apps started appearing in February 2017.

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