May, 2019

Android App Safe

Since cybercrime has become a serious problem, Google is doing everything to keep malicious Android apps, malware and viruses away from Google Play Store. Sometimes people have already downloaded such apps before they are taken down.

Can my device get infected by virus or malware through an app? You probably would be asking this question to yourself. Well, there’s a simple answer: Yes, it can. This is true that Android smartphones and tablets can’t get a virus but there is malware out there that are ready to cause the damage as soon as it gets installed on your device through an (untrustworthy) app.

As a smart individual, you must be aware of the terms adware, spyware and Trojans. But some might not know the fact they can infect your phone as well as your computer. They can access your private information and create a disorder in your life in a number of ways:

  • Following your every move through location tracker
  • Save your passwords after you type them in
  • Stealing contacts and sensitive photos
  • Reading your private messages
  • Going on a shopping spree with your bank account

Clearly, now you must have understood the gravity of the situation and that malware is no joke. All this doesn’t mean that you have to become a victim. To educate and keep you safe from such apps, we are sharing a few techniques that you can use to double check if the app you want to download is legit or not.

Learn About The Source Of The App

Looking for an app to download but what if unleash malware on your computer or smartphone? You got to be smart and be safe from other people’s corrupt practices. For starters, if you want to download an app, do it from a reputable market. Here too, don’t be too impulsive. Before you click on the download button, take time to know the source.

You must be questioning why is this important or how could it help you? It is essential because app stores provide an aggregation of apps, both from first-party and third-party. First-party apps are made by the vendor of the phone whereas the third-party apps are made by someone other than phone manufacturer. When you download a later version of the app, you are simply bypassing security measures that were put in place to keep you safe from malware threats. A single download is giving cyber criminals a much easier way to hack into your system. In such a case, you are usually under the impression that you are downloading an app but it is uncovered Trojan that will steal all your login information from all your apps, including banking apps.

So do a little digging and see what other apps the developer offers. This might give you an insight into what actually you are putting yourself into.

Beware Of Fake Apps And Scams

Knowledge is power and a mighty sword that you can use against scams. However, third-party apps pose a great threat as they sneak into Google Play from time to time with fake and malware-riddled apps. But how will you know if the app you wish to download is safe or not? Here are a few major things that could help solve your dilemma:

  • You will find the name of the developer right below the app’s name. Make a quick Google search of the name to find out more information. Your focus should be on finding a website to prove the developer’s authenticity. If the developer has created a number of apps, it’s worth your trust.
  • Next thing you need to see how many times the app has been downloaded. If there are a lot of downloads, then it is legitimate.
  • You are downloading Instagram and see the app was published just a few months ago, it’s a red flag that you shouldn’t ignore. It clearly shows that the app is fake. If that still doesn’t satisfy you, click on “Read more” on any app page to know more details.
  • Reviews speak a lot about any product and same applies to apps too. See what the people are saying. If the app is real, it will have plenty of reviews. Fake apps have very less reviews with all 5-star ratings.
  • Noticing grammar and spelling mistakes? Well, they are not just mistakes but signs speaking loud and clear that the app is fake. A real app is created by taking time and using the right language to market it whereas a fake one is created in haste that’s the reason why there are spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • The app you wanted to download is paid? Well, that’s okay, there are plenty of paid apps out there but all of a sudden if you see heavy discounts that are too good to be true, go with your better judgment.

Check App Permissions

Get this urge of instantly clicking on the install button while downloading an app? It is time to change this habit. When you are about to download a particular app, it asks for a number of permissions. Before you go ahead and click on allow without even reading them properly, take a long deep breath and reign yourself. It is vital that you go through the list of app permissions properly to understand exactly what information and functions the app will be accessing on your device. This can be crucial while identifying the authenticity of the app.

The purpose of doing so is to find out such permissions that do not relate to the app’s intended purpose. Apps like Facebook and Instagram will need permission to access your photos but if a gaming app like Candy Crush is asking for such information, it might be a red flag that shouldn’t be ignored. Make it a point to understand app permissions to stay safe against malware.

Where To Find Permissions?

Wondering from where you can access app permissions on Google Play? Let us be of assistance. Check the permissions before you install the app and you can do this by scrolling down the page and click on ‘permission details’ under the developer section.

Already downloaded the app but want to go through the permissions? Go to your phone setting and look at the downloaded app. There you will find app permissions that you can go through to be double sure.

Apps That Keep Away Malware

Feeling scared to download an app from the app store? Don’t be, because fortunately, there are a number of mobile safety apps that help in keeping the device safe. In case you don’t have one, REVE Antivirus software for android is just what you need. It will protect your phone from malware and any other suspicious activity that can be a headache for you.

Doomed? Deal With It In A Right Way!

Your phone is acting up and you know that malware is causing it. Stress if you want but there’s a better solution towards this issue. Consider the following steps to get your phone back up and running without interruptions.

  • Start with clearing the app’s cache and data. The app’s cache temporarily stores all the data it needs to work. Once, you have discovered a malicious app, you need to start working on keeping it away from any compromising information available on your device. Go over to Settings > Installed Apps > Suspicious App > then click Clear Cache.
  • Next check the permissions of the apps downloaded. The malicious app tries to get as much useless permission as possible to get all kinds of data from your device. Simply go to Settings > Apps > Suspicious App > App Permissions and make sure you are not giving them what they intend to get.
  • If nothing seems to be working, your best course of action in such a scenario is to delete the app at the earliest. Often times it happens that people have deleted the app by swiping it up and uninstalling it. But you have to be sure and to do that, go to Settings > Installed Apps and permanently delete the app from there.
  • Still facing issues? Take your phone to the service centre to get a thorough evaluation by an expert.

Stay Vigilant: The Conclusion

Google is bringing the most advanced AI – Android Pie and machine learning technologies to help consumers add an extra layer of security on their smartphones.

This surely doesn’t mean that you can’t take some precautions on a personal level. Most malware apps target the inattention of the consumers as their way of entry. In simple words, they are making most of your ignorance and lack of knowledge. When you willingly give permissions to an app to access important features of your phone, there’s a little any Google security or software can do to help you.

Practising the above-mentioned tips is your only defence against malware. Also, go with your instinct. If you feel like there isn’t something right, avoid downloading that app. Your safety is the most important thing.

The Author

Afshan Mehraj

A guest contributor with REVE Antivirus, Afshan is a B.Tech In computer science, and holds Diploma in Electronics, Communication and Information Technology. She works as a Hosting and Database Adminstrator with a reputed IT Firm. Afshan has a passion to write about topics related to web security and machine learning.
Afshan Mehraj
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