Do not ignore the “red flags” that can save you from a cyber catastrophe on Android.
Internet experts have revealed warning signs that Android phone owners should be aware of when downloading apps.
You might think that it is safe to get the apps from the Google Play Store.
But dodgy apps often make their way into the Android App Store – and they can trick you, hack you, or ruin you financially.
We spoke to cybersecurity expert Grant Wyatt to find out what you need to look for.
Grant, who is COO of Internet company MIRACL the sun Seven tips for using Android apps safely.
#1 – Check Downloads
“The first rule of thumb when downloading popular apps from the Google Play Store is to check the number of downloads,” Grant told The Sun.
“If you’re about to download an app that’s very popular, but the number of downloads seems to be low, it’s probably a fake app.”
#2 – Shuffle Permissions?
“Perhaps the most important thing is the permissions the app requires,” Grant explained.
Are they suitable for the app? Specifically search for apps that require access to your contact list, or permission to send text messages, for example.
“Think, does the app really need these permissions? You have to use your judgment.
“The error here can be really malicious, apps with network permission can ‘sniff’ whatever data you send, apps with keyboard permissions can ‘sniff’ any passwords you type – avoid downloading apps that require them.”
#3 – Read the description
“Similarly, read the product description,” Grant told us.
If the description is in broken English, looks ‘bot-like’, or is formatted in a weird way, it’s probably fake.
“While you’re reviewing the product description, take a look at the pictures too. Is there anything weird about it?”
“Is it blurry or does the language seem unclear? If so, it’s probably fake.”
#4 – Who made it?
Grant cautioned: “You should also look carefully at the app developer, especially financial apps.
Ensure that the developer is a legitimate financial institution.
“If the developer’s name has nothing to do with your bank, it’s probably fake.”
#5 – Use the reports!
“If you come across a fake app, you should report it,” Grant told The Sun.
Simply scroll to the bottom of the page, and click Mark as inappropriate.
“From there, just fill out a form highlighting your suspicion that the developer is not good, and Google will take care of it from there.”
#6 – Don’t be afraid to delete
“If you accidentally download a fake app, delete it immediately,” Grant advised.
If the icon does not appear on your screen, which often happens with data collection apps, go to the app settings and delete it from there.
However, just because the app is deleted does not mean that you are no longer infected.
“You need to run antivirus software on your device to make sure the malware is really gone.
“You should also delete all unwanted files on your phone to remove any trace of the malware.”
#7 – Secure your accounts
“Finally, you should change all of your passwords, and consider implementing multi-factor authentication where possible,” Grant recommends.
“MFA will ensure that if you fall victim to a fake app again, the cybercriminal behind it will not be able to access your account.
“The best providers will allow one-step MFA, giving you the full protection of the traditional MFA, but without the need to use SMS or email codes.”
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