Wednesday 11 May 2022 12:38 PM #NewProfilePic: Warning issued over viral app which hoover data and sends it to ... trends now
A new phone app which offers users a free digital avatar is taking facial-recognition quality photographs and sending them to Moscow, prompting major concerns within the cyber security community.
Tens of thousands of people have already uploaded their photographs to the servers of the New Profile Pic app in return to the free avatar. However, many will be unaware that the company behind the app, Linerock Investments, is based in an apartment complex overlooking the Moscow River, beside Russia's Ministry of Defence and just three miles from Red Square.
Jake Moore, Global Cybersecurity Advisor, ESET Internet Security told MailOnline that people have to be incredibly careful when uploading photographs or personal data to a brand new website.
He said: '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.'
Internet users have been warned against using a free new photo avatar creator because the company which developed it is based in Moscow
The website for for the company is registered in Moscow, Russia, according to the who.is database
The firm offers high quality digital avatars if people are willing to upload a photograph to their computer servers
The developers use special recognition technology to pinpoint required facial key points to apply the effect to the photograph
The company behind the App is called Linerock Investments Ltd, who according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Offshore Leaks data base, is registered in Moscow.
It has a shareholder based in Panama City, while a director is based in Russia.
In 2017, a St Petersburg-based company released FaceApp, which allowed users to upload a photograph which would be aged using Artificial Intelligence. A viral challenge prompted warnings from security experts about the amount of data the app was sending to Russia.
According to the new app's promotional material: 'The world around us is fast-paced and always evolving. In this ever changing world, why stick to one profile pic on your social media? Let it be different, always new and… made by AI!
'The NewProfilePic app lets you change your user image style as often as you want. Dare to be different, with a profile pic that reflects your current mood or state of mind. Impress your friends on social media and keep them interested in what's coming next! ;)'
By agreeing to download the app, users are willing to share their location, details about the device they are using as well as other photographs on their social media feeds.
The company's data policy is clear that 'we collect certain personal information that you voluntarily provide to us'.
It continues: 'We collect your name, email address, user name, social network information and other information you provide when you register.'
They also collect data on the user from other companies and combine it with their own