How to check if an Android app is safe to install

December 21st, 2020
How to check if an Android app is safe to install

Android devices are among the most popular devices on the market today. With a wide variety of features and designs, users have an abundance of choices. Not only that, but there are also more than two million apps available on the Google Play Store. Unfortunately, some of these are rogue software developed by cybercriminals under the guise of credible developers — and these apps can be hard to unmask.

How can you protect yourself and make sure that your Android device is running only safe applications?

Enable Google Play Protect

Google Play Protect proactively checks every app before you download them and rechecks your device regularly to ensure it’s free of dangerous software. The service helps keep your device safe and secure by:

  • Running a safety check on apps from the Google Play Store prior to installation
  • Checking your device for potentially harmful apps downloaded from other sources
  • Removing known harmful apps and warning you about any potentially harmful ones that are detected
  • Notifying you about detected apps that violate Google’s Unwanted Software Policy
  • Sending you privacy alerts about apps that can get access to your personal information, violating Google’s Developer Policy

If it finds a potentially harmful app, it will do one of these three things:

  • Send you a notification that will prompt you to remove the app
  • Disable the app until you uninstall it
  • Remove the app automatically

Google Play Protect is enabled by default, but you can turn it on or off by following these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store app.
  2. Go to Menu > Play Protect > Settings.
  3. Toggle on Scan apps with Play Protect.

Download from a trusted source

Make sure to download only from well-known and legitimate sources like the Google Play Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, or Amazon Appstore, as these are routinely monitored and scanned for fraudulent apps. However, bogus apps still make it into these stores from time to time, so it’s important to check the ratings and reviews of an app before downloading it. It’s also well worth checking its privacy policy so you know how the app will handle and protect your personal information.

Use third-party antivirus software

Because the market for tablets is growing, more and more companies are offering mobile antivirus solutions. Although there are free antivirus software that are legitimate and effective, the better option is to purchase security solutions from well-established companies to get maximum protection.

Third-party antivirus software may come with monthly or yearly subscriptions, as well as different premium rates for different types of security measures, but their benefits far outweigh the cost of purchase.

Be vigilant

There are many effective steps you can take to make sure your tablet or smartphone is safe against fake apps:

  • Before downloading from a trusted source, read the fine print as well as user reviews, and look out for evident security risks.
  • Uninstall unused apps. This will not only help you avoid any unnecessary risks with potentially vulnerable apps, but also make more room on your device.
  • Update your software. Patches from software updates can fix bugs of vulnerabilities, which, in turn, can thwart cyberattacks. To avoid software update inconveniences, enable automatic updates on your Android tablet or smartphone.

If you are looking to learn more about protecting your Android device, we can help. Contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.


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