If You Value Privacy, Delete ES File Explorer From Your Device NOW

If you value your privacy and internet security, I advise you to delete ES FILE EXPLORER (or Manager) from your device.

Google Playstore
Source: androidpolice.com

I know how difficult it will be not having that powerful application on your handheld.

You are not alone. With over 500 million downloads, users (myself inclusive) that installed the file manager are perplexed too. I have used the app for years and it will be difficult to find a valuable alternative.

ES File Explorer is a file manager/explorer designed by ES Global, a subsidiary of DO Global, for Android devices. It includes features like cloud storage integration, file transfer from Android to Windows via FTP or LAN.

The app is a super one as it gives root access to all files uploaded/shared on WhatsApp status (especially images and videos). ES File Explorer has a way of showing the latest logs on the 'app home'.

But why delete ES File Explorer from your device despite its wide range of usefulness? Read on to find out.

Why You Should Uninstall ES File Explorer

A few days ago while trying to download and install ES File Explorer on my Andriod device from Google PlayStore, (I had reset my device due to malfunctioning). I found out that:

1. Google deleted the app from PlayStore, apparently for violating rules.

According to investigations carried out by BuzzFeed News in collaboration with security researchers Check Point and Method Media Intelligence, they found out that the app developer in question is a spin-off from Chinese giant Baidu who only became independent last year.

The report also claimed the company that owns ES File Explorer, DO Global, was committing 'click fraud' by clicking ads in users' apps in the background without permission.
The developers programmed 'a code' in their apps that automatically clicks on adverts without user permissions while in the background (during inactivity). Advertisers do not get value for money spent due to fraudulent activities. Users also experience bad battery and mobile internet data depletion unknowingly. 

For concealing app ownership details from users and committing adverts fraud, the company has violated Google Playstore rules. The app is also no longer listed as an ad inventory via Google’s AdMob network.

Not only ES File Explorer was deleted from Playstore, 45 other apps from parent company Do Global, were also removed (in April 2019). Its apps amassed more than 90 million downloads before being removed from Google PlayStore. 

2. In January 2019, a security researcher had also detected a security flaw that makes users prone to vulnerabilities in ES File Explorer.

Earlier in January 2019 - French security researcher Elliot Alderson discovered a new vulnerability in ES File Explorer that exposes users files to anyone on the same network. The cybersecurity expert in a series of tweets explained that via 'the bug', hackers can access, download, and steal users' data, as reported by How-To Geek

A script, developed by a security researcher to obtain data on the same network as an Android device running ES File Explorer
A script, developed by a security researcher to obtain data on the same network as an Android device running ES File Explorer. (Image: techcrunch.com)

According to him, users only need to open the app once.

With more than 100,000,000 downloads ES File Explorer is one of the most famous #Android file manager.
The surprise is: if you opened the app at least once, anyone connected to the same local network can remotely get a file from your phone https://t.co/Uv2ttQpUcN

— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) January 16, 2019
Read the rest of his tweets and adjourning comments from other researchers, here. ES File Explorer team as at then said they were aware of the bug and it’s been fixed, with an update incoming:

We have fixed the http vulnerability issue and released it. Waiting for the Google market to pass the review.

3. DO Global, the parent company admitted violating Google Playstore rules and claimed bug has been fixed.

While responding to BuzzFeed News report on the 'click fraud' and other allegations levied against the company, DO Global, the company behind ES File Explorer said it accepted Google's decision and allegations against it and investigation has being launched to examine irregularities.

Full Statement on DO Global Website (as reported by Andriod Police):

In the past week, we have noticed a series of reports about our apps by the media. We fully understand the seriousness of the allegations. As such, we immediately conducted an internal investigation on this matter. We regret to find irregularities in some of our products’ use of AdMob advertisements. Given this, we fully understand and accept Google's decision. Moreover, we have actively cooperated with them by doing a thorough examination of every app involved.

We would like to thank the media, our partners, and the public for their support. Moving forward, we will strictly follow relevant regulations and continue conducting a comprehensive review of our products. Lastly, during this process, we have caused misunderstandings and great concern due to our being unable to communicate in a timely manner and provide complete information. We offer our sincere apologies.

4. Google is yet to republish ES File Explorer to the PlayStore while the developer account remains banned/suspended since 2019 (as of August 31, 2020).

As of today August 31, 2020 - ES File Explorer is still missing on Google PlayStore, which indicates that the app is yet to be reinstated.

Going Forward

Pending the time Google will update ES File Explorer to PlayStore, it is advisable you uninstall the app from your device. 

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