More and more children have cell phones at an early age, and more and more parents realize how complex it is to try to control their use. The parental controls of iOS and Android help, but the little ones have been able to bypass those limitations for a long time. As? Let’s see it.
vault apps. As indicated in elDiario.es, there is a method that has gone viral among the youngest when it comes to skipping parental controls. It’s about using hidden apps, also called vault apps. They’ve been around for years, but now they’re back in style. With them it is possible to hide photos, files and even other applications, and precisely through them children are able to bypass parental controls.
A simple search on Google Play shows how there are various app options that hide data under the guise of an innocuous calculator.
the other calculators. Those vault apps usually take the form of a normal app, like a simple calculator. They have a calculator icon and when run they offer those features, but if the user dials a specific sequence of digits, the “vault” gives way to that hidden desktop with other applications and files that are not in sight.
TikTok disguised as a calculator. Thus, by activating this secret mode of operation, the user can access those other contents that are not usually visible, but is also able to use applications that escape parental control because for these tools what one is using is, just the calculator.
In fact, the user could be using TikTok or a browser to access adult content without their parents knowing. Any hidden app installed in the vault is disguised as activity in the calculator, just like that. There are those who use these applications in other equally sensitive scenarios, of course.
dangers everywhere. The use of these tools may be appropriate for people who actually need to hide certain data on their devices, but they represent a risk to minors. The reason is clear: without parental controls and without that supervision that they offer to parents, children and young people are much more exposed to the dangers of the Internet.
How to detect these vault apps. Being a gateway to files, photos, videos and other applications, one of the easiest ways to detect these applications is to check how much space they are taking up in the mobile storage: a calculator app usually “weighs” less than a megabyte, and those vault apps can easily “weigh” tens or even hundreds of MB.
An old practice… These kinds of apps have been around for years. As early as 2015, there were warnings about the problems that these apps —which had gone viral among teenagers— could pose for parents. Apple even removed one of them, called “Calculator%”, after its risks were exposed in a British police investigation.
… that becomes new. Now these tools have become fashionable again thanks to the videos that appear on social networks like TikTok. These kinds of posts have made these vault apps popular among children and teens, who are able to hide photos, videos, data, and other apps from their parents.
Image: Paul Hanaoka
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