7 Tips for Avoiding Fake Apps on Mobile App Stores

How can you spot a fake app in Google Play or Apple’s App Store? We put a huge amount of personal data on devices like iPhones, Samsung Galaxys, and iPads, so the thought that malicious software could gain access is a troubling one.

If you’re lucky, a fake app might only damage your phone. If you aren’t, a fake app could wreck your private life.

But you don’t have to fall victim. It’s relatively easy to spot and subsequently avoid fake apps. Here’s what you need to know and what to look out for.

1. Stick to Official App Stores

iOS Apple iTunes store

This is a basic precaution, but one users should definitely bear in mind.

Jailbreaking (iOS) or rooting your phone (Android) is tempting because you get access to a wider range of apps and features. However, for such freedom, you surrender some degree of security.

By venturing outside the iOS App Store, for instance, you leave yourself open to downloading suspicious software. Some banking and entertainment apps aren’t supported on rooted Android devices, which limits the damage malware can do. Nonetheless, there’s still a wealth of personal details accessible to cybercriminals.

Official stores assess all apps before making them widely available. After automated checks, further reviews are made by real humans who dig into the underlying code of an app to discern their true natures. Your first line of defense is provided by Google and Apple.

Admittedly, it’s not fool-proof. Fraudulent software can still be found—perhaps because the sheer volume of reviews required means some slip through the net—which is why you need to know the other signs an app is fake…

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