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CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China

A research done by TheDigitalHacker for "Document Scanner" keywords on playstore results 11 out of 18 apps are associated to china.

TheDigitalHacker in its research on camscanner alternative apps found that most of the camscanner alternatives are from china has its business and close association in.

Popular Chinese app TikTok has been tracking user’s information, sending it to Chinese servers, and has been influencing users to speak good things about china by promoting pro china content to users.

The Indian government banned 59 apps that were tracking users’ personal data, iPhone clipboard data, and were sent to servers outside of India.

But the story doesn’t end as most of the apps on play store related to document scanning are still from china and countries where Chinese businesses are established.

Camscanner

Camscanner is developed and managed by a Chinese company & developers but the address was given on the play store contact section is of the USA, probably to reduce the number of uninstalls #BoycottChina campaign done by Indians.

As camscanner got banned by Indian officials, we tried listing the top alternates for the same. In the process, we found most of the top document scanning apps are actually associated with china and cause major privacy issues.

What can go wrong?

These apps usually require following permissions in general

  1. Camera permission
  2. Files and Gallery Permission
  3. Wifi Permissions
  4. Contacts (To share cloud downloadable file link)
  5. Mails in your phone(To share the document)

A lot can go wrong but most of the these apps are used to put malware that auto clicks the apps. (Camscanner was once caught for putting malware in phones).

The apps can send sensitive information to Chinese governments. (Tiktok was found to be sending)

Can create an advertising profile for advertising

Share your data with the Chinese government in case you are an activist who supports the Hong Kong issue.

What did we do?

We researched the top 18 apps on the play store for the keyword “Document Scanner” app on 31st June 2020 and found something suspicious. We immediately decided to let people know about it and help people keep their personal data safe.

Marked apps below the image are some of the other ways to be associated with China.

Note that we haven’t checked the whole list but only the top 18 apps as they will be mostly downloaded while searching for an alternate to camscanner. There is a pretty high probability if we see further beyond the top 18, we may find a lot of apps falling in the suspicious category.

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 2

 

Apps that directly or indirectly associate with china

1. Document Scanner

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 3

  1. Developer address: Japan
  2. Address given isn’t correct
  3. Risk: Medium
  4. Downloads: 5,000,000+
  5. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=document.scanner.scan.pdf.image.text

Note: Pakistan is under debt from china, As Pakistan failed to pay back the debt, and a lot of Chinese businesses are established in Pakistan.

2. Clear Scan

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 4

  1. No Busines Adress but the only country address
  2. Address of Thailand, A strong ally of China
  3. App suspected to be managed by Chinese
  4. Risk: High
  5. Downloads: 5,000,000+
  6. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.indymobileapp.document.scanner

3. Fast scan

Screenshot 2020-07-01 at 12.56.18 PM

  1. Privacy Policy doesn’t include their official address
  2. No specific office address is given, Address given is in Japanese
  3. Language in Japanese (most of the users cannot read)
  4. Risk: Low
  5. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=camscanner.documentscanner.pdfreader&hl=en_CA

4. Smart Document Scanner

Screenshot 2020-07-01 at 1.04.05 PM

  1. Privacy Policy doesn’t include their address
  2. No specific office address is given
  3. Risk: High
  4. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=beneficiaapps.smart.document.scanner.pdf.creator&hl=en_CA

5. Scanner Free

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 5

  1. App from Hong Kong, China
  2. Downloads: 100,000+
  3. Risk: High
  4. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.seamobi.documentscanner&hl=en_CA

6. Simple Scan

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 6

  1. App from Hong Kong, China
  2. Downloads: 10,000,000+
  3. Risk: High
  4. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.simplescan.scanner&hl=en_CA

7. Document Scanner

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 7

  1. No Address is given
  2. No Privacy Page
  3. Risk: High
  4. Downloads: 1,000,000+
  5. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bcaapps.scanner&hl=en_CA

8. camscanner

It has a US address but the company is actually from China.

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 8

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 9
Camscanner is from china but lists the US Address
  1. China, uSes USA Address in contact Section (In India’s 59 banned app list)
  2. Risk: High
  3. Downloads: 100,000,000+
  4. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.intsig.camscanner&hl=en_CA

9. Scanner App

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 10

  1. Doesn’t have the right address
  2. The official website doesn’t mention the business location
  3. Risk: High
  4. Downloads: 10,000,000+
  5. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pdf.tap.scanner&hl=en_CA

 

10. Scanner App

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 11

  1. Pakistan (Highly risked, China controlled businesses)
  2. The official website doesn’t mention the exact business location
  3. Risk: High
  4. Downloads: 500,000+
  5. URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pdf.tap.scanner&hl=en_CA

11. Document Scanner (Randier Inc) (Already Removed)

  1. App got removed by play store
  2. Risk: High
  3. A company no proper address

 

 

Safe Apps to use for document Scanning

1. Adobe Scan

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 12

  1. Trusted & Popular Company
  2. Clear Privacy Policy
  3. Parent Company: Adobe (USA)
  4. Risk: No Risk, Highly Trusted

Download: Adobe Scan

2. Microsoft Lens

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 13

  1. Trusted & Popular Company
  2. Clear Privacy Policy
  3. Parent Company: Microsoft (USA)
  4. Risk: No Risk, Highly Trusted

Download: Microsoft Lens

3. Document Scanner

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 14

  1. Trusted
  2. Clear Privacy Policy
  3. Parent Company: Lufick (Delhi, India)
  4. Risk: Trusted

Download: Document Scanner

4. Zoho Doc Scanner

CamScanner alternatives are not safe for Android users. Top 11 of 18 apps are associated with China 15

  1. Trusted & Popular Company
  2. Clear Privacy Policy
  3. Parent Company: Zoho
  4. Risk: No Risk, Highly Trusted

Download Zoho Scanner

What does “china associated country” mean in this article?

An example of an associate country is Pakistan.

Pakistan in the past has lent a lot of money as dept from china and allowed Chinese troops and businesses to be established on its land. TheDigitalHacker considers those countries as “china associate country” as a business from china can list from other locations.  We have also considered “Hong Kong” as china associate Chinese government rule over the same and a lot of businesses including tech, publishing companies are from hong kong and that are managed closely by CCP.

It invades the purpose

This creates a big doubt on the decision the Indian government has taken to tackle Chinese malware and consumer data protection.

If the event that china is tracking users’ data is true, these apps can still track data from Indian and other consumers across the world.

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TheDigitalHacker

thedigitalhacker.com is an independent organization publishing news and information about data breach, hacking, bad actors in the industry, Our goal is to keep you updated with the latest happenings in the tech industry. You can report a breach anonymously with our report form
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