What are Safe Mobile Apps?
Managing mobile applications can be a complicated task, as there is a lot of information to digest and permissions to monitor. In order to protect yourself from device and data compromise, consider the following tips to help ensure the apps you are downloading are reasonably safe:
Download apps from official app stores. Downloading apps from official app stores such as Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android provides a level of protection as these platforms have systems in place to evaluate apps before they are published. Downloading apps from unofficial sources increases the risk that the app you may be downloading is malicious.
Prefer recommended apps. The apps recommended by the official store are generally more reliable.
Check app name and developer. Carefully assess the name of the app and the developer to be sure that it is a legitimate app and not a spoofed app. Check for clues that would arouse suspicion that the app is not legitimate such as unexpected punctuation, odd spacing, misspellings, or logo alterations.
Check version history. A detailed Version History should appear near the bottom of an app listing, and it should include a history of updates. A lack of a detailed Version History should be considered a warning sign that the app is not legitimate.
Check app description. If an app description contains a lot of spelling and grammar errors, or is overly vague, these may be signs that the app is not legitimate.
Review the ratings and comments. Look for well-rated developer apps with positive comments. To be sure that the comments are legitimate, look for longer comments that were recently posted, and developer responses should seem reasonably specific and helpful. Signs that the comments are fake include brevity, high praise, many comments with similar dates, and vague or missing developer responses to comments.
Consider popularity. Popular apps tend to have millions of downloads and ample reviews, which can help you to do confirm that the app is legitimate.
Check the permissions. If an app is requesting permission to access functions that seem to be unnecessary for their purpose, such as a photo editing app asking for permission to access your contact list and microphone, this may be a sign that the app is malicious.
Keep antivirus software installed and updated. Antivirus programs installed on your mobile device can help identify and eliminate potential threats. Be sure that the antivirus software is regularly updated so that it is looking for new known app threats on your device.
Signs that you may have downloaded a malicious app include:
- New or suspicious app appears
- Data usage is unusually high
- You are receiving unusual ads, pop-ups, or redirects
- Device is overheating or battery is draining rapidly