With the increased popularity of smartphones in the previous decade, the need for digital applications has also risen. However, users are finding it hard to gauge the safety of applications available on the Google Play and Apple App Store. In a pool of about more than 5 million apps, how can you ensure that you are installing a secure one?
Here is a complete guide on how to safely install apps without compromising the security of your smart devices:
Tips on how to check if you are installing a safe app
Experts say more than 85% of the world’s population is using smartphones while many own other smart devices such as laptops and tablets. Sadly, if you are not cautious when downloading an app for use, you can get in a lot of trouble. Many unlucky people end up exposing their personal data, making their devices vulnerable to viruses and malware.
If you do not want to be stuck in such an experience, here are the red flags you can search for while installing an app:
1. Version history
The version history that is available in the bottom section of an app listing can help you figure out whether it is safe or not. It tells a user about the changes that the app has gone through recently. If it is vague or not up to date, that is a warning sign, so take that and stay away from it.
2. App name and developer
Look carefully at the app’s name and the developer. If you find any inconsistency in both such as asterisks or abnormal spacing that is not seen in other apps by the developer, avoid downloading it.
3. Number of downloads
While this may not be the case every time, especially when one is viewing a newly launched application, the number of downloads can be of great help. This factor along with reviews can assist a user in determining the legibility of the application. Simply, apps that have millions of downloads are safe to use as they are popular among users. Whereas the ones with low numbers can be dangerous.
4. App description
Applications come with a description that offers users information about the features and ‘how to use it’ guides. Study it and ensure that there are no grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and irrelevant content that could point towards it being a scam. Moreover, if the description is too vague or has a general tone, that is also a sign of a fake application.
Many scam applications have descriptions that are stuffed with irrelevant keywords. If you find the app description is intact and does not have a hindering flow of words and is well-crafted, the product is safe to install and use.
Real reviews matter more than you realize when you have to decide whether you are dealing with an unsafe app or not. If you notice that all the reviews are positive ones, keep a check on the date they were posted and their length. To trick the user into downloading a scam app, developers post positive short reviews, which builds trust and eventually increases the number of downloads.
Here are some other warning signs that you need to look out for in the user reviews:
- Insufficient details – If the users are posting about specific features and giving short reviews, that is a bad sign. Most scammers employ this strategy to lure people into thinking the app is a legit one while the reality is the complete opposite.
- Unrealistic praise – If the majority of the reviews are good ones, this is also a red flag. A safe app will always have at least one or two negative reviews, which is a normal occurrence.
- Same dates – If you find a couple of reviews posted on the same date, that means the developer is using bot reviews. These are not real and are a sign that the app is unsafe to install.
- Review replies – Authentic developers will always cater to negative feedback and reply to the user reviews. This increases customer satisfaction along with the number of downloads. However, bogus developers will never put in this much effort.
Installing and using unsafe apps can lead to a disastrous situation. They not only expose personal data but also make you vulnerable to other serious cybercrimes.
One way to protect your smart devices from malware is to use Peru VPN to increase privacy. Having this approach will save you from installing scam applications that can put your personal data at risk.
Conclusively, one should always be aware and think twice before installing any application on their device.