They aren’t just a waste of time; they’re malware. Here’s how to avoid them.
By Jacquelyn Staggs
The app world can be confusing enough.
Which are best to download? There are so many options! The most annoying part: When you’re forced to pay for an app you desperately want or need from the app store.
Turns out, there are worse things….especially if you accidently download a fake app.
We live in a world continuously advancing and immersed in technology. Our simple pleasures of downloading harmless and helpful apps on a whim have become complex.
Uncomplicate it. Here’s how to spot the difference between the real deal and a sham, so you can click and swipe safely and happily on your devices.
First thing’s first, what exactly IS a fake app?
Shocked to the core by hearing such a thing exists? Hackers design apps to fool you into installing. These apps can steal your data and, potentially, your personal information. Scary, right?
Even scarier: These scammers have used the most popular app logos to disguise their fake ones and trick us downloaders.
It can happen to anyone.
I once tried downloading a picture editing app last year. Luckily, it wasn’t malware but to my surprise, it turned out to be a “vault” designed to hide photos on your phone. I wasn’t impressed; that can’t be productive for the parents of teens.
So, how can we notice the difference and protect ourselves?
Great question. Be on your guard. Just because they’re in your app store does not mean they’re 100% safe and secure, especially if the fraudulent app was recently posted. Here are a few helpful tips:
- Download apps only from official stores such as the Google Play Store because, better safe than sorry!
- Look closely at the app logo. Does the logo seem slightly off or sketchy? (especially if this is a popular app, such as Instagram, that you’re used to seeing daily).
- Carefully read through the permissions the app asks for before you upload; Apps that demand access to vast amounts of information are most likely looking to steal.
- Check out reviews on the app. If they are rated terribly or have little to no reviews, it’s best to skip out.
- If the reviews are short and sweet and you’re still feeling worried, check into the developer to see how many apps they have designed; the more apps they’ve come out with, the more legit they probably are.
- Check your phone settings and click the little box that does not allow third-party app downloads from untrustworthy places.
- Lastly, if you want to cover all your bases, you can always install several protections for your phone such as Norton Mobile Security. If you thought anti-viral protection was only for your computers, you thought wrong my friend!
Now can you tell the difference? Time to test it….
Here are three sets of popular apps that have all been on the market at some point. One of the apps is real while the other is fake.
Can you tell the difference?
Answers and more details are below:
Answers and facts:
B is the real app while A is a fake. You can tell due to the slightly off logo. Also there are a large amount of ratings on it, however not a single comment.
A is the real deal and B is definitely a scam. Before you look to download an app you have heard about, be sure to do some research on it to know how the logo should appear! Spotify is supposed to stream music, but who knows what this particular false app streamed.
This is a difficult one to decipher, especially when they aren’t side-by-side. B is legit while A is the fraud. Android users encountered this malicious malware that stole their account information at log-in and attempted to obtain other data associated with the user account. Read more.
Jacquelyn Staggs, after traveling most of the country throughout her life, now resides in Charlotte, N.C. She relies on social media, her cellphone, and email to keep in contact with those she’s closest to, and the fascinating friends she’s come across during her escapades. Blogging is her passion, and she tries to not let life and lack of time detract from that.