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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Four Decoy Apps that Hide Content and Identity

Now that high schools are back in session, some students are taking measures to hide content and their identities on their cell phones. Students are able to accomplish this with the use of a certain group of apps.

A decoy app is an app that looks like one thing, but has a piece of code that allows the phone owner to click past the facade and access hidden -often taboo- content. Here are some examples that you may want to look out for if you are a parent that monitors the use and configuration of your high school student's phone:


This free app allows a user to chat with complete strangers without the need to register. Participants are randomly paired together for chat sessions.

All participants thus are anonymous and difficult to track. This app is an excellent haven for predators.


The simple idea behind this app is that it looks like an ordinary calculator. A piece of code, however, allows the owner to hide content behind the calculator.

Burn Note

Just as Facebook is passe for most people under 30-years old, high school students are more likely to turn to Burn Note rather than Snapchat. The two apps are similar: content -pics or messages- is only visible for a short time; then the content disappears from the device.

Audio Manager

This app operates like Calculator%: it masquerades as a benign chunk of code used to manage a user's audio settings. The true function of the app, however, is to store data that the user does not want anyone to see.

If you are taking the time to monitor your student's cell phone use and configuration, keep an eye out for these apps. You may want to have a discussion with your child about these apps and about the dangers of distributing inappropriate content and of course, chatting with strangers.

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