Beware of Malicious Mobile Apps
Beware of Malicious Mobile Apps

We all spend a lot of time on our phones. In fact, on average, every American spends around three hours on their phone a day. In that time frame, we can be doing anything from watching videos, texting friends, making calls or even downloading new apps. There is a whole world of mobile apps out there, one for if you want to lose weight, one for your favorite local restaurant, the options are endless. Although this knowledge can be useful, it’s important to understand the best practices of what to look out for in terms of legitimacy before clicking on the “download” button – or if you own a business, what to train your employees on so they don’t connect these malicious apps to the server.

Research Before Downloading

As tempting as it is to simply click “download” and begin using your app, you may end up wishing you had looked into the details a little further before committing to it. What may seem as simple as deleting the app if it doesn’t meet your expectations, will not get you far if the app was malicious to begin with. Here are a few areas to take a deeper look at before making the final click:

1. What platform do you need to download the app on?

  • Have you ever heard of the store you are downloading the app from? If it isn’t from the leading app stores (Google Play and Apple’s App Store) that can be red flag #1 for the app’s intentions.
  • Both Google Play and Apple’s App Store have regulations in place to review apps for safety and security.
  • Third-party sites do not have these same regulations and are often where malicious apps are bred.

2. Read the reviews of the app.

  • If there are only a few reviews and they are all five stars, it may be a sign it is too good to be true.
  • There should be a lot of reviews (both good and bad) if it is a reliable app.
  • Most reviews should be positive, but the negative ones can help paint a picture of the app’s true story.

3. See if the developer has published multiple apps.

  • If so, check to see how many downloads and types of reviews those apps received.

4. Read the app description.

  • Are there typos or poor grammar? These can sign that the developer of the app wanted to quickly release it to fool as many victims as possible.

Understand App Permissions

The second step that you should follow before installing, is reading the app permissions. Yes, all of it. This is your chance to understand what information and authority you are giving to the app. Should a grocery list app really need permission to your location, contacts and photos? It’s important to take a step back and consider why it may be requesting this. If it is requesting too much information, just remember there are plenty of other options out there that will give you the same benefits and do not need your personal information.

Always Update in the App Store

Once you have downloaded your app and have been using it for some time, chances are it will need an update. Updates are a normal part of utilizing an app, however hackers often take advantage of this routine as a way to implant viruses on your device. Updates should never take place directly in the app. Instead, these updates should be managed via the store you downloaded it from – hopefully either Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. In addition, the frequency of these updates can also tell you if the app is legitimate or not. If the app needs updates often – as in every day, that can be a sign that it is malicious.

Utilize Mobile Security Software

You may be familiar with installing security software for your laptop, but phones need to have some security as well. Any good security software will offer protection for malware, web and overall device. If you are in need of recommendations for reliable software for your mobile device, reach out to Nutmeg Technologies. In addition to installing security software, it’s important to maintain that the software, your apps and your daily activities on your phones are all running smoothly. You can do this by updating your phone’s operating system on a daily basis. Just be sure you make those updates within the settings of your phone system, never within an online website.

Nutmeg Technologies is an IT managed service provider based out of Windsor, CT. We are happy to assist companies who are looking to have in-office or remote workforce through secure technology. Contact us to today to find a product that best suits your company’s needs.