Downloading Google Play Store apps for phone? Beware! Do these 5 things first
If you're an android phone user, you might have downloaded hundreds, if not thousands of apps till date. Google Play Store offers millions of apps for any and all imaginable tasks. Want new widgets on your phone, you've got an app for that. Don't like the look of your home screen, you can customize with downloadable launchers. You can even find similar, if not better replacements for stock apps such as file manager, music player and more.
However, unlike Apple, Google does not screen apps for malware and hackers on Play Store much, meaning some harmful apps often slip under the radar. These apps, when downloaded on your smartphone, can not only steal your data, but could also potentially put your financial information at risk, leave your phone exposed to hacks and even brick your phone, leaving you a worthless and over-expensive paperweight.
Thankfully, there are a few signs you can watch out for before downloading any app. According to the Sun UK, there are four huge red-flags to watch out for while downloading any app from the Google Play Store, says Adrianus Warmenhoven, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN.
mobile to buy?
See the app permissions
With the new Android updates, whenever you download any app, it asks you for various permissions depending on its purpose. For example, a photo editing app might request access to your storage space, camera, microphone and photo gallery. However, you should always keep an eye out for any app asking for unusual permissions such as access to your personal information, contacts and more.
Check the reviews
Always check the app reviews before downloading it. People post app reviews based on their user experience. Warmenhoven explains, “It sounds obvious but users police the apps they use all the time and aren't shy about warning others when they find problems.”
See the number of downloads
Any app that is potentially harmful might have only a handful of downloads. So, only download apps which have already been downloaded a respectable number of times. Warmenhover said, “There have been cases where the download figures have been manipulated by fraudsters so you should definitely smell a rat if an app is claiming millions of downloads yet has only been released for a few days.”
Read the app description
Google Play Store provides an app description along with information about the app creator. You can click on the developer's name to see a list of other apps they have developed. Therefore, only install apps from trustworthy sources.