The Internet is full of resources, news, information, and entertainment, but it’s also full of fraud, scams, and cybercriminals. When it comes to apps on your mobile device, it’s easy to get caught up in the variety of choices. You may accidentally download a fake app without even noticing. When this happens, you run the risk of having your privacy and data become vulnerable. To avoid this, you’ll need to learn how to identify dangerous applications on your iOS or Android phone. In this article, we’ll show you how to spot fake apps and avoid them.
What is a Fake App?
Fake apps are programs that imitate real applications and were made to allow cybercriminals and threat actors to steal data. Depending on the type of attack, there are many different varieties of fake apps you might encounter. These applications can appear as banking apps attempting to steal your credentials or even popular shopping applications like Amazon. The types of fake apps are always evolving to keep up with current trends and new methods of data theft. Some common types of fake apps include:
- Apps imitating other popular applications, e.g. Angry Birds.
- Repackaging of an open-source app filled with spam and ads.
- Mirror clones of popular apps, e.g. Facebook or banking applications
Although these apps seem like they’re easy to avoid, there are many instances where fake apps have slipped under the radar. In this case, the old saying is true: it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you think you have a fake app, get rid of it before it puts your information at risk. Sharing your private information with these applications can cause serious, long-term damage.
Are Fake Apps Dangerous?
Today, fake apps are among some of the most common types of cybersecurity threats on mobile devices. Depending on the criminal’s intention, these fraudulent apps can obtain your personal data, sell your information, or steal your identity. They can even deposit dangerous software on your device like ransomware and spyware.
In addition to most types of malware, fake applications also come with ad bots that spam your device with unwanted advertisements. These apps can also act as a gateway for phishing scams and DDoS attacks. Fake apps are as much a threat to your device’s safety as fake websites, which can also infect your devices. Ultimately, avoiding these dangerous scams comes down to your ability to spot and avoid fake apps.
Signs of a Fake App
If you download an application that seems suspicious, you likely want to identify whether or not the app is real. Luckily, there are several clues that you can use to spot fake apps. Take a look at the following list to learn more about how to identify fake applications.
How to Spot Fake Apps
- Look for a low-quality app icon.
- Check the title for errors or strange characters.
- Look at how many downloads the application has.
- Check the developer to see if they are legitimate.
- Look at the ratings and recent reviews.
- Check the permissions that the app is asking for.
Does your app check off more than one of these signs? If so, you may have a fake app on your hands. If that’s the case, don’t stress. There is still a way for you to keep your information safe and secure from potentially risky applications. Take a look below as we show you what to do if you download a fake application.
What to Do After Downloading a Fake App
If you have accidentally put a fake app on your phone, don’t worry: your data isn’t necessarily in danger yet. The first step is to delete the application from your device. Once you clear the app off of your phone, restart it and download a verified antivirus. Finally, after you run the antivirus, you can report the fake application to the app store.
Staying safe on the Internet is a challenge when it comes to avoiding malware and scams. One of the best ways you can keep your privacy intact online is to use a VPN. With a VPN, you can easily connect to a server in another location and mask your IP address. This makes it harder for third parties to observe your activity, giving you additional security and protection. With antivirus and a VPN on your favorite devices, you can be sure that your private information is secure.
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