Is the New Profile Pic App a Scam?

Is the New Profile Pic App a Scam?

A new picture editing app has been in the news recently, with multiple publications and netizens on social media wondering whether it’s a scam. With that in mind, we thought we’d look into it ourselves.

What is NewProfilePic?

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The app as seen on Google Play

NewProfilePic is the latest social media craze, surging up the app charts with hundreds of thousands of downloads. This mobile phone picture editing application allows users to submit photos of their faces and receive a high-quality cartoon portrait in return. The images are in a hand-drawn style, but are actually produced by the app’s AI technology. The app’s description states:

“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! […] 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!”

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The app as seen on the App Store

Is NewProfilePic a Scam?

Last week, The Daily Mail published an article warning about the app, which sent the online community into a panic. The article warns users not to download it — on account of it’s overly-invasive nature, excessive permissions requested, and an address registered in Moscow, Russia. Consequently, netizens have been theorizing it’s not only a scam but a Kremlin ploy aimed at collected data and stealing money.

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Warnings on social media
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Warnings on social media

The truth is that it’s a controversy without much evidence, mostly due to the understandably suspicious climate regarding the Kremlin and Russian threat actors. The app’s permission requirements aren’t out of the ordinary compared to social media apps — while its data is stored on the Amazon AWS / Microsoft Azure servers that are located in the USA.

According to Snopes, NewProfilePic was created by Informe Laboratories, Inc., and copyrighted by Linerock Investments LTD — the company behind similar apps such as ToonMe and Photo Lab Picture & Art.

Confusion arose when screenshots showed that the domain “newprofilepic.com” was registered in Moscow. It has subsequently changed to Florida. A representative for the company told Snopes it was originally registered at the Moscow address of the company’s founder. Furthermore, the company has never had an office in Russia, rather, the lawyers who registered the app have an address there.

A Helping Hand from Trend Micro

To summarize, users shouldn’t worry too much — and can go ahead and enjoy their portraits. That said, people are often surprised to learn just how much personal data these mobile apps are allowed to access. It would be wise to thoroughly go over the permission requirements of each before installing. On that note, it’s also a good idea to invest in cybersecurity protection for your phone.

Trend Micro Mobile Security for iOS and Android offers Web Threat Protection against malicious websites and links. It offers a Pre-Installation Scan feature that prevents malicious apps and malware on Google Play being installed. Remember to make sure that your phone system and applications are up to date to prevent such threats. Give Trend Micro Mobile Security a go by following the instructions here or clicking on the button below:

Be safe folks! As ever, if you’ve found this article an interesting and/or helpful read, please do SHARE it with friends and family to help keep the online community secure and protected.

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