Skip to content

How Can You Tell If Apps Are Safe? ThreatAdvice Course Overview

Smartphone applications provide practical assistance in multiple areas of life. Users download apps according to their lifestyle, business habits, and interests. Smartphones are full of personal data that cybercriminals try to exploit. Various apps are filled with viruses and malware. It’s important for all users to know what to look for when considering apps to download. There are six steps that users should consider before adding an app to their phone.

Only download apps from verified app stores

Modern smartphones fall under the category of an Android or an iPhone. The official application store for Androids is the Google Play Store, and the official application store for iOS devices is the Apple App Store. Apps downloaded outside of these verified stores can be infected with undetectable viruses that can damage the device or delete critical data. To avoid downloading malicious apps, users should only download apps from official app stores. 

Only download highly-rated apps

Official app stores allow users to leave reviews on the apps they download. Reviews build perceptions of apps and allow users to see which apps are effective and secure. Apps that lack any reviews or only have a few negative reviews could potentially have malware. Read reviews thoroughly to check for satisfaction and safety. 

Prioritize store-recommended apps

Verified app stores strive to only have secure apps available to the public to help protect users and enhance their trust. To accomplish this, app stores have “recommended apps” that have been verified as safe to use and useful for everyday use. Recommended apps often receive the tag, “Editor’s Choice” which means that the app is one of the most effective and secure apps to download in its specific category. Many users mistake these seals as a form of advertisement and bypass the product entirely. To find apps with these seals, users should look on their app store’s “featured” page.

New call-to-action

Thoroughly review app permissions

Many apps need access to various components of the phone to accomplish what they were designed to do. However, untrustworthy apps may ask permissions that are not needed to gain unneeded additional access. Unnecessary access can include permission to access a user’s contact book, camera, microphone, or social accounts. Users should be suspicious of any apps that ask for permissions unrelated to its design. Users should also not download any apps that ask permissions that make the user uncomfortable. 

Download an antivirus app

An antivirus app provides a layer of security for the phone. A mobile antivirus can detect potential threats from apps and eliminate those threats before any damage occurs. However antivirus work differently between Android and iPhone. For Android devices, the antivirus works to protect the entire operating system of the phone. For iPhones, an antivirus monitors suspicious links and dangerous messages. 

Keep all apps properly updated

Lastly, users should always keep all of their apps updated with the latest security patches. Developers design updates to prevent the phone from being breached by malware. Updates also make the device more compatible with the latest systems and devices. Users should set up automatic updates to ensure they never miss any security patches.

ThreatAdvice Breach Prevention Platform

Summary

Users download apps according to their lifestyle, business habits, and interests. Smartphones are full of personal data that cybercriminals try to exploit. Various apps are filled with viruses and malware. It’s important for all users to know what to look for when considering apps to download. The six steps users should take into consideration before downloading an app include only downloading verified apps, only downloading highly-rated apps, prioritizing store-recommended apps, reviewing app permissions, downloading an antivirus app, and keeping all apps updated.

For assistance in evaluating your strategies, technical requirements, staff evaluations and communications contact a ThreatAdvice Professional to learn more.