Though, it is unclear whether Ghosty was booted out of the Play Store, or the developers did that themselves; what we do know is that it is no longer available for download. This may not be unconnected with a recent report where Android Police exposed the app as shady in terms of how it compromised the privacy and security of Instagram users—something that clearly violated Instagram’s policy.
Android Police has published an update to a story they ran earlier, and it has now been confirmed that Ghosty is no longer available for download from the Play Store. Recall that Facebook had promised to get in touch with the developers of the shady app where it said it would issue “a cease and desist letter”
Apparently the developers of Ghosty sensed that trouble was brewing and had to exit the Play Store or Google made sure the app got kicked out.
For the records, Ghosty is an app that allows you to access a website without letting trackers know your true. The app was removed by Instagram for violating its policy on privacy. It takes advantage of Instagram’s API to create a haven for stalkers. The app does this by crowdsourcing the data of its registered users’ Instagram accounts. With this, Ghosty is able to allow anyone access many private profiles of people on the picture sharing app.
Ghosty requests for your Instagram login credentials in exchange for access to many private accounts. It does not end there though; you are also required to complete the process by inviting at least one other Instagram user in order to be able to view private profiles. With this method, Ghosty does not only gain access to your data, it is able to build its database where your data and thousands of other users are stored illegally. At first, the app may not require you to go through the invitation step, but this will surely happen during the course of using the service especially when new users have been hooked.
There is a tendency to want to access more private data once you have seen a couple of them—and that is where Ghosty exploits your desire by asking you to pay for bundles or watch ads.
For an app that has been around since April, boasting of more than 500,000 installs on the Play Store; imagine how huge its database is. How this app has managed to escape being detected or removed from the Play Store is strange; but I would imagine it won’t be long until Google and Facebook take proper steps to protect users.