Picture-altering apps are quite fun, don’t you agree? And when you come across one that has shot to the top of mobile charts with hundreds of thousands of downloads, you can’t help but give it a try yourself. However, if we were to recall what occurred when FaceApp came around, we have to be vigilant while using the newest face adjustment app on the market, New Profile Pic.
When FaceApp got popular, a huge faction of users was worried that their data was being collected by Russian entities. Now, New Profile Pic is getting the same concern as, it too, shares some roots with Russia.
We must ask: Are the claims true? Is New Profile Pic really a Russian Malware Scam to collect user information? What does the company have to say to defend its product? Find out in this comprehensive article.
New Profile Pic – From Russia with Love
We all love paintings, and to have an app that can transform your photos into actual works of art is really quite outstanding. The app is fun, joyful, and most definitely convenient.
However, with convenience comes uncertainty as various claims state that the app is forged by Russian entities and collects user information.
Let’s first break the app down before we get into the juicy stuff. The tool goes by two names, depending on the platform you’re downloading it on.
As we mentioned, the app has all the fun qualities users can ask for. So, what’s with the claims about it being some sort of Russian malware scam?
So far, rumors are circulating the internet about the New Profile Pic app – emphasis on rumors. Here’s what people are saying:
- The app is stealing data in a criminal fashion.
- New Profile Pic is Russian-based and connects to the Kremlin.
- It’s malware that harvests money out of users’ accounts.
If nothing is out of the ordinary, why was this screenshot shared on Facebook, stating that the app operates straight from Russia?
Based on the research done by Snopes, their results showed that this website was registered in Florida. However, a spokesperson at Linerock Investments did mention that the domain was previously registered in Moscow. More info on that is in the next section.
Is It Russian or Russian-ish?
The spokesperson had a lot to say about the screenshots and the claims a lot of users are posting on social media. Here’s the full statement:
“It is true that the domain was registered to the Moscow address. It is the former Moscow address of the founder of the company.
He does not live in the Russian Federation at the moment. By now the address has been changed in order to avoid any confusion.
We are a BVI company. Our app is being developed by an international team with development offices in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
However, there’s a flip side to the app’s popularity. The UK’s Daily Mail posted an article today alleging that NewProfilePic is likely to ‘hoover up your data and send it to Moscow’ – all because the app ‘has been developed by a tech company based in Moscow’. 🙈
Again, we can’t help remembering the lookalike ‘Bangladesh story’. All we can do is explain patiently that all our apps (including NewProfilePic) are NOT a threat. We are a BVI company with development offices in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Nevertheless, your photos (or any other data) are NOT sent to Moscow. All our apps are server-based and user images are uploaded to Amazon AWS / Microsoft Azure servers located in the US. This is necessary in order to apply all those fancy effects driven by AI technologies.“
If they’re comparing their product with some sort of incident that happened in Bangladesh, should we remind them about what went down when the Russian tool “FaceApp” saw the light?
This is what we call a lookalike as history is repeating itself. They both have the same photo upload function and fall into the Russian data collection controversy.
New Profile Pic – The Bottom Line
Whatever app you’re using, no matter how fun it is, never share information that could jeopardize your privacy. The app does state that it collects data, but none of it seems out of the ordinary or dangerous.
However, just because the research showed that none of the claims are solid, it doesn’t mean that nothing is happening in the background. You should always stay vigilant when it comes to such apps – you never know what you’re putting on the line.