Security concerns raised over new viral picture app that ‘sends data to Moscow’

Security experts have warned against using a newly-viral app amid concerns that it is ‘sending data to Moscow’.

Millions of people have been sharing pictures on social media from the app New Profile Pic in recent days.

Users are asked to submit a high-quality photo of their face in return for an avatar – which is produced by AI technology – that looks like it has been hand drawn.

The app has been downloaded by millions of people across the globe, according Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store figures.

But the Daily Mail reports that Linerock Investments, the company behind the app, is based in an apartment complex next to the Russia’s Ministry of Defence building in Moscow.

The privacy policy on the New Profile Pic app states that it collects some personal information – such as name, email address, user name, social network information and other information provided when voluntarily registering an account.

It also collects IP address data, browser type and settings from the device you have chosen to use.

A description of the New Profile Pic app says: “Create profile pictures that are always in tune with your mood.

“The world around us is fast-paced and always evolving. So why stick to one profile picture on your social media? Let it be different, always mew and made by AI.

“Surprise your friends with your ever-changing profile pic. Change your image as often as you want and draw even more attention with this amazing app that os ember out of new portrait ideas and technologies.

“Impress, stand out, and keep everyone interested in what’s coming next.”

People have been urged to be careful when agreeing to submit their images and any personal data to a new website, such as this one.

Jake Moore, Global Cybersecurity Advisor at ESET Internet Security told the publication: “This app is likely a way of capturing people’s faces in high resolution and I would question any app wanting this amount of data, especially one which is largely unheard of and based in another country.”

He added: “Regardless of where they are based, I would always err on the side of caution when handing over sensitive data as once it has gone, it is virtually impossible to gain control of it back.”

A spokesperson for the app told the Daily Mail: “We are a BVI company with development offices in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus”.

They also added that they do not share user information in a way that is not listed in their privacy policy.

We approached Linerock Investments for comment.

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