Thinking of downloading any new apps today? Better exercise some caution first and make sure that cool new app isn’t a malware-infected trojan horse in disguise.
Look below for more information on how to identify a potentially unsafe app.
Downloading an app for a smartphone or tablet might feel like the most natural thing in the
Apps are an inseparable part of modern-day mobile devices, and these gadgets simply wouldn’t work without them. This is probably why most people, to a certain extent, don’t think about any potentially dangerous implications when they choose to download an app.
Yet there are dangers attached to apps, and not just from those available on third-party
marketplaces or developer websites.
Even the Google Play Store has its fair share of trouble every now and then from shady apps that manage to make their way through.
Discerning between a friendly, helpful app and a criminal’s creation isn’t always easy. But keep these five tips in mind before clicking that install button or risk downloading a sketchy app.
1. Stick to the Official App Stores
Official stores, like the Play Store, have various security features in place to protect people from malicious apps. Google and Apple vet all of the apps that make it onto their stores.
There’s also Google Play Protect, which scans installed apps for suspicious behaviour.
2. Only Download From Third-Party Marketplaces When Absolutely Necessary
Not all third-party marketplaces are inherently dangerous, but most of them do not have security policies or quality control in place. Anyone can upload any app they like, whether it’s legitimate or a scam – and it’s often hard to know which is which. Downloading apps for Android from anywhere other than the Play Store also requires side-loading, which can be dangerous.
3. Go Through the App Store Page Thoroughly
everything carefully for spelling mistakes or suspicious language.
Apps created by professional, legitimate developers shouldn’t have a lot of spelling mistakes. Take a look at the developer as well.
Tap their name under the app’s name and examine their profile.
4. Manage App Permissions Carefully
Look through the permissions an app is requesting thoroughly before downloading it. Never
allow app permissions that don’t seem applicable to the type of app. Also, look for an explanation (if they have one) on the App’s store page to see what they do with permissions.
App permissions can also be controlled individually after the app is installed.
5. Always Let Apps Install Updates
Updates contain security patches that are extremely important for keeping hackers from getting easy access to the device. These patches fix any known security vulnerabilities within the app, so always let new updates install.
A Reminder About Mobile Security
Apps aren’t the only thing to look out for. Criminals employ multiple methods to catch
unsuspecting victims. From phishing and pharming to hijacking the network connection – mobile devices need to be protected from a host of attacks.
Anyone who wants to make sure their device isn’t vulnerable to outsiders should keep these tips in mind as well:
– If remembering a unique password for every account is too difficult then get a password
manager. These nifty tools can save passwords in a secure vault and enter them automatically when you want to log in.
– Activate two-factor authentication wherever possible. Most platforms and apps offer 2FA these days, and it’s a simple but effective way to deter would-be attackers. With this enabled, the user will get a unique code or link every time they want to log into their account. Hackers won’t be able to get in unless they have access to the secondary account or device the code gets sent to.
– Installing a VPN is a good idea in general. But it’s especially useful to people who like to
connect to public WiFi networks. They are notoriously unsafe and prone to spoofing, hacking, and hijacking. VPN protects users’ devices from being targeted by hiding the connection with secure encryption protocols. Look around for a trustworthy VPN as scammers are capitalising in this area as well.
– Set up a lock for the phone – with fingerprint biometrics if the model supports it. Not only does this protect any data on the phone in case of theft; it can also keep malware from getting automatically installed or working remotely when the phone is locked.
Don’t Become the Next Victim
Cybercriminals know the average person won’t know what to look for and can hide their tracks well.
Stay vigilant and follow these tips to make sure that the only apps that do get installed are the legitimate ones.