DON’T IGNORE “red flags” that could save you from an Android cyber disaster.
Cyber experts have revealed warning signs that Android phone owners should be aware of while downloading apps.
You might think it is safe to get apps from the Google Play Store.
But dodgy apps often make their way onto the Android app store – and could lead to you being scammed, hacked or financially ruined.
We spoke to cybersecurity expert Grant Wyatt to find out what to look out for.
Grant, who is COO of e-business MIRACL, gave The sun seven tips for using Android apps safely.
#1 – Check Downloads
“The number one rule when downloading popular apps from the Google Play Store is to check the download count,” Grant told The Sun.
“If you’re about to download an extremely popular app, but the download count seems low, chances are it’s a fake.”
#2 – Doubtful permissions?
“Probably the most important thing is the PERMISSIONS the app needs,” Grant explained.
“Are they appropriate for the app? Look specifically for apps that require access to your contact list or permission to send text messages, for example.
“Do you think, does the app really need these permissions? You have to use your judgment.
“A mistake here can be very damaging, apps with network permissions can ‘sniff’ any data you send, and apps with keyboard permissions can ‘sniff’ any passwords you type – avoid downloading apps that need it.”
#3 – Read the description
“As well, read the product description,” Grant told us.
“If the description is written in broken English, looks like a ‘robot’, or is formatted in a weird way, it’s probably fake.
“While you’re looking at the product description, also take a look at the pictures. Is there anything strange about them?
“Are they blurry or does the language seem wrong? If so, it’s probably fake.”
#4 – Who did it?
Grant warned: “You should also carefully consider the app developer, especially for financial apps.
“Make sure 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 reports!
“If you come across a fake app, you should report it,” Grant said, speaking to The Sun.
“Just scroll down the page, click ‘Report as inappropriate’.
“From there, all you have to do is fill out a form outlining your suspicions that the developer is doing nothing right, 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 doesn’t appear on your screen, which often happens with data-collecting apps, go to your app’s settings and delete it from there.
“However, simply deleting the app does not mean that you are no longer infected.
“You need to run anti-virus software on your device to make sure the malware is really gone.
“You should also delete all junk files from your phone to remove all traces of the malware.”
#7 – Lock your accounts
“Finally, you should change all of your passwords and consider implementing multi-factor authentication where possible,” Grant recommended.
“Implementing MFA will ensure that if you fall victim to a fake app again, the cybercriminal behind it cannot access your account.
“The best providers will allow one-step MFA, which gives you all the protection of traditional MFA, but without having to worry about text messages or messaging codes.”
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