How to know if an app is safe? List teaches 6 ways | Safety

Suspicious apps can be the gateway to malware if installed on the phone. The risk exists even within official download stores such as Google Play Store and App Store, despite the platforms’ advanced protection mechanisms. With this, criminals can have access to sensitive data, such as media, passwords and bank details stored on the smartphone, leaving them exposed. However, there are ways to avoid the problem, such as paying attention to app reviews and developer profile. Check details below.

READ: Five mobile scams are on the rise in 2022; see how it happens

Tips help you identify applications that are untrustworthy for download; see how to increase the protection of your data — Photo: Reproduction/Pexels

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1. Download available on official platforms

The first step to protect against infected apps is to always download them from official stores, such as the Google Play Store for Android devices and the App Store for iOS. Although they still offer risks, the platforms provide greater security to users, as they have systems that evaluate applications before they are made available.

It is worth mentioning that there are also many unofficial stores for Android phones and that the chances of acquiring apps with malware through them are quite high. However, if you still download from an external service, it is important to use a protection tool that looks for possible infections in the files, such as Metadefender.

Home page of the Google Play Store, official store for Android applications — Photo: Reproduction/Mariana Tralback

2. Whether the app is updated frequently

Another important factor is to be aware of the application’s update dates, as outdated software can have flaws and open security holes. Therefore, when downloading a new app, make sure it is frequently updated by the developer, which makes it less susceptible to attacks.

Also pay attention to apps already installed and check the download platforms for recent updates for them. If the process has not been carried out automatically, do it manually to ensure more security.

Demonstration of recent app updates dates — Photo: Reproduction/Mariana Tralback

3. Whether the developer’s reputation is good

Looking at developer reputation is also a way to tell if an app is safe. Give preference to the most recognized ones and, if you are still in doubt, a good tip is to search for the creator’s name on Google, along with the term “mobile apps”. From the results, you can have more knowledge about reliability.

In addition, there are other factors to check. If the developer has many apps with few differences between them, such as the name or the icon color, it may indicate that they were created in a generic way, just with the aim of stealing information. Also, pay attention to information such as the total number of downloads already performed — if it is too low, it is a warning sign.

Official stores show the apps created by the developers and the number of downloads already made — Photo: Reproduction/Mariana Tralback

4. Check the app’s permissions and privacy policies

When installing an app, it is common for it to ask for some permissions. Therefore, check if what is requested makes sense with the functionality of the program. For example, Instagram asks for permission to record audios and capture images, as it is intended for this type of content. If the permissions look suspicious and are not in line with the application’s proposal, you need to be careful.

This is especially alarming if the requests are related to location, stored files, calls, text messages, or audio/microphone. This can be a way to access data and put sensitive information at risk. So always check the details in the app store before downloading.

Also, pay attention to the privacy policies, as malicious apps hide risks in the middle of the terms and conditions, as they know that most people will accept them without reading. With this, the user may end up allowing dangerous actions such as data sharing.

Apps show their complete whitelists for greater security — Photo: Reproduction/Mariana Tralback

5. If recommended by app stores

Another tip is to choose downloadable apps that are recommended by official stores, which is another guarantee of reliability and security. On the Google Play Store, they carry the “Editors’ Choice” badge and are easily found on the store’s homepage. On the App Store, they can be found in the “Today” section.

Pages of applications recommended by the Google Play Store and App Store — Photo: Reproduction/Mariana Tralback

6. If it is well rated by users

Reviewing user reviews is one more way to confirm that an app is safe. Before installing, check the feedbacks left on download pages and learn more about people’s experience. Don’t limit yourself to featured reviews: use filters to check out negative comments. If there are a lot of reviews indicating “fake”, don’t take any chances.

Another factor to watch out for is whether there are a lot of short, generic positive reviews that don’t cite specific features as they may have been left behind by bots.

Filters for “Reviews” and “Positive” ratings about an app — Photo: Reproduction/Mariana Tralback

with information from MUO and Western Union

See too: Four tips to protect your information online

Four tips to protect your information online

Four tips to protect your information online

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