Just because “there’s an app for that” doesn’t mean you’re safe downloading it!
Apps are game changers. They’re life hacks for easier and more productive daily task performance. With millions of apps present in both Google Play and Apple Stores, it is safe to say that there’s an app for almost everything a person needs.
However, it’s undeniable that some of these apps have security issues and vulnerabilities untold, and some are even used to maneuver hacking attacks.
As an app fanatic, be extra careful in pursuing the things you love!
ALWAYS SPOT THE FAKE APPS
Hackers exploit the popularity of apps among millions of users worldwide by creating and publishing impostor applications on Google Play, Apple App Store, and other app markets.
You thought you were one step ahead of hackers by installing a security tool on your computer and mobile. But it turns out, you actually aren’t!
An example is last month’s viral discovery of 32 fake malware-filled apps for Google Mobile OS. These android apps were found to ask for excessive permissions in order to spy on victims, access tracking locations and use the camera covertly. Through this, hackers could read information about users’ contacts and also secretly make phone calls.
The news further explained that such apps had one thing in common – they were about the popular online game — Fortnite. And this threat has been the focus of a recent study by Top10VPN.
Simon Migliano, Top10VPN
Our biggest concerns relate to the excessive permissions. We found apps that can be used to spy on people by tracking location, reading contacts, using the camera – even secretly making phone calls. None of these permissions are present in the official Fortnite
Luckily, catching these fake apps isn’t rocket science.
Below are some reliable ways to spot these poseurs, and what you can do to safeguard yourself.
1. Double check the developer’s name.
Before you download an app, ensure the developer’s name comes from a reputable company or someone you recognize. Check the spellings. Remember: some hackers also use similar names as the trusted ones. Although it doesn’t guarantee total security, doing so can help you stay away from vicious authors.
The image above is a possible pitfall to a security breach if left unnoticed.
2. Beware bad grammar and typos.
Many fake apps are created hastily by non-native English speaking developers. A poorly written app description could be an indication of a phony app, so you’d better read it thoroughly.
3. Check the reviews all the time.
Reviews are made purposively. Generally, an app with more reviews means a legit one. Make sure to check both sides of the opinion coin and read the negative reviews first before the 5-star ones. Why? Users who read those bad app reviews first would know the reason behind negative feedback and then can use this knowledge to make smarter decisions. Yet, always take note that reviews can be easily bought.
4. Shopping discounts? On apps? A big no-no!
That’s a massive red flag! Any similar offers from apps promising instant shortcuts and discounts are just too good to be true. Designers are businessmen, and while some major companies can offer free apps, there’s always a cost even if it is “just” the presence of ads.
5. Go directly to the app’s official website.
For a quick solution, download the app straight from the company’s website.
6. Always verify permission requests.
Learn to deny permissions to an app asking for access to all data on your device and the websites you visit. Check if the permissions requested are relevant to the apps’ nature of service. You wouldn’t want some random hacker savoring your private images and data just because you were reckless about permissions. So, take time to read meticulously what you are about to give.
Gabriel Wood, NextAdvisor:
Be especially careful with any app that asks for the administrator permission, as this gives the app the ability to do really nasty stuff like change your password, encrypt your storage and make itself undeletable.
It may seem a tedious process, but it’s the optimal way to find the real intention of an app and the purpose of all its demands.
8. Research before you download.
Researching takes up time and is sometimes inconvenient but it saves privacy and security, nonetheless. There are many apps that do not belong to well-known developers, though, that are legitimate as well. The only way to still enjoy what other developers can offer—especially those from virtuous new developers—is to check their past apps and review what online forums are saying.
9. Watch out for free apps.
People love anything that is free and that’s the reason behind the growing billions of app users worldwide. But did you know that some free apps do rubbish acts like collecting data more than what you thought you’ve allowed? This is the biggest reason why everyone should check permission requests as written earlier. Your personal information becomes the product hackers and scammers sell to the darknet when you don’t check the permission requests.
We live in a world full of wonders: good and bad. Though the latter may crunch our passion and enthusiasm on the marvels of technology, it doesn’t have to be bad enough to stop us from keeping on top of it.
Cybercriminals may try to take advantage of people’s weaknesses. But the good thing is, companies are prompt in coming up with the best solutions for security risks.
At Flint Technologies Solutions, we understand that the weakest link in the security chain is among the people using it. Nevertheless, Our goal is to help you do business better and at the same time live your tech life better, so we prepared cybersecurity measures such as app protection, hybrid walls, multi-factor security authentication, data encryption, cloud backup, etc. to help you protect yourself and your business’ information.
Yes, there are millions of legitimate apps out there and I know you’ve been using two or more. That’s great! As long as you apply all the lessons you’ve learned above, you’re ahead of the safety curve.