Facebook users warned about New Profile Pic app ‘having chilling links to Russia’

Facebook users have been warned not to use a new phone app that allows people to turn images into free digital avatars through facial recognition.

Significant cybersecurity concerns have been raised within the tech security industry about the app, as after signing up for the app, user data is sent to Moscow.

Tens of thousands of people have already uploaded their photos to the server of the New Profile Pic app, which creates an almost cartoon-style avatar from the image.

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Unsuspecting users are unaware that the app is owned by Linerock Investments, which is based in an apartment complex overlooking the Moscow River, next door to the Russian Ministry of Defense and just three miles from Red Square, according to online mail .

Jake Moore, Global Cybersecurity Advisor at ESET Internet Security, told the publication: “This app is probably a way to capture people’s faces in high resolution, and I would question any app that wants this amount of data, especially one that is largely unknown and based in another country.

The app uses facial recognition technology to find key points in an image of your face uploaded to servers and then generates a new version.

According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ Offshore Leaks database, Linerock is registered in Moscow and has a Russian director.

In 2017, a St. Petersburg-based company launched FaceApp, which allowed users to upload a photo that would age using artificial intelligence.

The viral challenge prompted warnings from security experts about the amount of data the app was sending to Russia, as Mirror UK reports.

Promotional material for the new app reads: “The world around us is fast-paced and constantly evolving. In this ever-changing world, why stick to a profile picture on your social media? Make it different, always!” new and… made by AI!

“NewProfilePic app allows you to change the style of your user picture as many times as you want. Dare to be different, with a profile picture that reflects your current state of mind or mood. Impress your friends on social networks and keep them interested in what comes next. ! ;)”

By downloading the app, users share their location, details about the device they are using, and photos and other information to their social media accounts and feeds.

The company’s data policy states: “we collect certain personal information that you voluntarily provide to us.”

It adds: “We collect your name, email address, username, social media information, and other information you provide when you sign up.”

They also collect user data from other companies and combine it with their own dossier.

The company also collects the IP address, browser type, and settings of a computer or mobile phone device data.

The app is number one for photos in the Apple app store and has been rated 25,000 times on Google Play.

A spokesperson told MailOnline: “We are a BVI company with development offices in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

“The senior management of the company and the managers of most of the projects, including myself, are located outside of these countries.

“All user photos are hosted and processed on Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure servers, which are located outside the Russian Federation.

“The address on the Moscow River is the address of the lawyers who registered the company. We have never had an office there.”

“It is true that the domain was registered at the Moscow address. It is the old Moscow address of the founder of the company. He does not live in the Russian Federation at the moment. For now, the address has been changed to avoid any confusion.”

The spokesperson emphasized that the company is not affiliated with any particular government or country.

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