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  • Beware “Album by Google Photos” crapware IN THE MICROSOFT STORE

    Posted on October 13th, 2018 at 14:09 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve seen several warnings about the “Album by Google Photos” app, from “Google LLC,” so I decided to try it out. On a test machine, of course.

    Sure enough. I went to the Microsoft Store using the Store app, installed Album by Google Photos, clicked Launch, and I was presented with a Google logon screen. Except it wasn’t a Google logon screen. It was a very good fake of a Google logon screen.

    I tried entering several bogus Google IDs, and suddenly I heard a machine-generated voice, “Virus alert! Your machine is sending your data to … Call xxx – xxx – xxxx to fix your PC!” or words to that effect.

    Fortunately, it wasn’t doing anything of the sort, and a click on the X in the upper right corner stopped the stupid thing. But that’s a heckuva Saturday surprise, eh? Straight from the Microsoft Store.

    I first heard about the unlikely Store denizen from Martin Brinkmann on ghacks.net. Then @GeekLatest tweeted to me and pointed to his (her?) web site. Developer tricks Microsoft, publishes app under Google LLC name in Windows Store

    Sure enough, following the lead of GeekLatest, I dug into the installed UWP app, and found under a folder that was blocked, this lovely set of programs:

    Block Craft 3D is a completely legitimate Minecraft open world game. But somehow the Block Craft 3D inside Album by Google Photos doesn’t strike me as a Minecraft extension.

    If you ever wondered why people avoid the Microsoft Store like the plague, permit me to introduce you to reason number 147,389.