In the last two days, I’ve installed two Android apps (names redacted because it’s not their fault!) which, on install, have popped up a custom notification saying that the app “requests Sensitive Permissions”.
UPDATE: this is not these apps’s fault. It is ES File Explorer’s fault. Uninstall ES File Explorer. And everything below applies to the ES File Explorer people.
Tapping this notification pops up a thing named “Apps Analyze” which pretends to be analysing the stuff on your phone and then shows you a bunch of irrelevant information about your phone and weather and Facebook info, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the app you installed.
Let me be clear. This is bullshit. This is nothing more than malware. I wanted to dim my screen, or buy a sandwich. I did not want to have my phone “analysed”; I did not want “sensitive permissions”. I don’t think this thing needs permissions at all; at the very best it’s a completely unwanted bundled thing, like Oracle bundling adware with their Java installer. At worst, it’s some sort of unpleasant malware which harvests data from my phone and ships it off somewhere. I don’t know what it does; it’s certainly bloatware at the very least; there’s a Reddit thread about it.
I don’t know where this is coming from; since it’s shown up in two separate apps, it’s presumably some sort of third-party component, and presumably the authors of it pay app developers to include it. I do know where it’s coming from; it’s from ES File Explorer. If you are an Android app developer and you are using this thing, fucking pack it in. This is a hysterical betrayal of your users’ trust. I know it’s hard work to monetise software that you write. I know it’s tempting to scrape the barrel like this. But if you are using this, you are a terrible person and you should sit down and have a bloody word with yourself. Stop it. You’re pissing in the waterhole and ruining things for everyone. Do you really want to be part of this race to the bottom? It’s possible that this is an official Android thing, since it’s also showing up in Google Sheets and so on. If so, Android people, what the hell are you thinking of?