In today’s world, with the rise of smartphones, the issue of fake apps has become widespread. The problem is so pervasive that such malicious apps have managed to sneak into Google Play store and Apple App store.
When you download a fake application, malicious cybercriminals run malicious software through advertisements in the background of the phone to cause harm. Since it runs in the background, such apps and their activities go unnoticed for a long time.
Installing such infected apps can put your personal data such as login credentials, banking details, credit card numbers, etc., at risk.
It is quite hard to identify such fake applications. Other than that, it is harder to completely remove them from the phone without creating additional harm. As per the studies, there has been a significant rise in the number of fake apps, and it is unlikely that this figure will decrease. Malicious app developers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are developing apps on an accelerated pace.
Fortunately, bad actors have not, as of yet, mastered a foolproof method to develop fake apps which go undetected. By being a bit cautious while downloading apps, you can spot a fake one. Here are some tips and tricks for detecting fake apps:
Check for typos and developer information
Firstly, carefully go through the app developer information, and app’s description and see if it has grammar mistakes, spelling, and punctuation errors. Cybercriminals often try to imitate legitimate apps and change a letter or add one to appear genuine. For example, if you want to download Facebook and you look it up on the app store. You come across an app named Facebook Update. Now, this is a warning signal. The official Facebook app will not have the word “Update.”
Sometimes, it may be difficult to judge if the app is genuine or not from the name alone. In that case, check the developer name. For example, if Microsoft owns the app, then its developer’s name should be Microsoft.
Check the download stats
When installing a popular application such as Messenger, you must, at all times, check the download statistics. For example, if you need to download the Messenger application – one of the most popular applications with more than a billion downloads already.
However, the app you are going to download has merely 10,000 downloads. It has to be a fake app. On the other hand, if the app you need to download is not really popular, then try to download the app which has a higher number of downloads.
Check the app reviews
After going through every other thing, take some time out for going through the reviews. Reading them can offer you the necessary information regarding the authenticity of the application. Since most of the fake apps are laced with counterfeit reviews, scroll down and read the reviews which have rated the app poorly.
When you notice something fishy, remove the application from the phone. If you do not find the app but are still facing the problem, then the application might be on the phone. Fake applications are capable of disappearing to avoid being removed. In such events, go to the list of installed applications, and see if there are any blank spaces.
Devin Smith is a creative person who has been writing blogs and articles about cyber security. He writes about the latest updates regarding mcafee.com/activate and how it can improve the work experience of users. His articles have been published in many popular e-magazines, blogs and websites.