Our lives became so dependent on apps. We use them to control our activities, chat with friends, share insightful moments, buy things, and even perform complex tasks related to work, banking, and government. We are so comfortable with apps that we don’t think twice before installing a new one for any of our needs.
But not every app is safe. And even official stores have lots of fake apps, despite the efforts to protect users from malefactors. The problem is that it’s not easy to detect a fake application. That’s why we should understand how to tell a bad app from a good one, and how to prevent becoming a victim.
A fake app — what is it?
Such an application follows a malicious goal to steal some sensitive data whether its bank card details or just user activity that then could be sold to businesses for marketing needs. Also, such apps could infect your device with malware that would show you annoying ads later.
We could divide fake apps into three categories:
- Silently harmful
- Inappropriate content
Imposters would mimic other apps, usually widely-used ones. They usually rip off the interface, features, descriptions, and everything else that makes this application look like a real one. Such a program could infect your device with malware or steal some sensitive data.
Silently harmful apps would provide you with all the features they’ve promised to deliver. And you’d think that you’re just using another application that works for you. But meanwhile, it will steal your data or infect your device.
Finally, there are apps that would show you inappropriate content in a form of ads. Also, these programs might redirect you to infected or phishing sites.
There are so many apps that it’s impossible to tell right away if the one you’ve picked is safe. If you want to get a smart alarm clock, you’ll find plenty of options on Google Play or App Store. Which are safe and which could harm you?
Sure, both Google and Apple try their best to get rid of fake apps. But it’s a cumbersome task to perform. That’s why the malicious application could hang in stores for months before they get removed by dedicated teams.
Large software corporations have enough resources to constantly look for fake and malicious apps and remove them. But smaller developers can’t afford that. Therefore, you should take care of yourself by knowing how to tell good from the bad.
What kinds of apps are usually fake?
Hackers target certain kinds of applications. Usually, these are types of apps that are either vital for us or very popular.
Obviously, that’s the type of application malefactors would target because games are extremely popular. And since often games are downloaded by kids who aren’t aware of risks, it’s easy for hackers to sneak into devices and receive legitimate downloads.
Technology brought banks into our smartphones making transactions extremely simple. And malefactors are very eager to get some profit from our desire to have more comfort in our daily life. There are quite many imposter apps that mimic banking ones, so be careful.
With the pandemic taking over the world, developers create more and more apps that could help people stay safe and aware of the situation. At the moment, both Apple and Google reject such apps if they’re coming not from the government or health institutions. But who knows, maybe there are a couple of applications that managed to sneak through these restrictions.
How to stay safe?
There are just a couple of simple rules:
- Use only official stores. Don’t download apps directly from websites unless you’re absolutely sure they’re safe.
- Ignore pop-ups and links that advertise apps. These calls to action could be hackers trying to get you to download a harmful app.
- Use a VPN app. iNinja is the best free VPN for Android and iOS because it’s lightweight and reliable. It will encrypt your traffic and keep you safe.
- Use multi-factor authentication. If some apps have two-factor authentication, use it to protect your sensitive data in case if hackers steal your passwords.
- Keep apps updated. Outdated software is full of vulnerabilities that expose you to hackers.