I’m a technical expert – never ignore these Android ‘red flags’ or it could cost you
DO NOT ignore the “red flags” that could save you from an Android cyber disaster.
Cyber experts have revealed warning signs that Android phone owners need to be aware of when downloading apps.
You might think it’s safe to get apps from the Google Play Store.
But questionable apps often find their way into the Android app store – and can lead to you being scammed, hacked or financially ruined.
We spoke to cyber security expert Grant Wyatt to find out what you need to look out for.
Grant, who is the COO of cyber firm MIRACL, gave The Sun seven tips for using Android apps safely.
#1 – Check the downloads
“The number one rule when downloading popular apps from the Google Play Store is to check the number of downloads,” Grant told The Sun.
“If you’re about to download a very popular app, but the download count seems low, chances are it’s a fake.”
#2 – Dodgy permissions?
“Probably the most important thing is the PERMISSIONS that the app requires,” Grant explained.
“Are they appropriate for the app? Look especially for apps that require access to your contact list, or permission to send text messages, for example.
“Think, does the app really need these permissions? You have to use your judgment.
“A mistake here can be very harmful, apps with network permissions can ‘sniff’ any data you send, and apps with keyboard permissions can ‘sniff’ any passwords you type – avoid downloading apps that require them.”
#3 – Read the description
“Similarly, read the product description,” Grant told us.
“If the description is written in broken English, seems ‘bot-like’ or is formatted in a strange way, it’s probably a fake.
“While you’re checking out the product description, take a look at the pictures too. Is there anything weird about them?
“Are they blurry, or does the language seem unclear? If so, it’s probably a fake.”
#4 – Who made it?
Grant warned: “You should also look closely at the developer of the app, especially for financial apps.
“Make sure the developer is a legitimate financial institution.
“If the developer’s name has nothing to do with your bank, it’s probably a fake.”
#5 – Use reports!
“If you come across a fake app, you should report it,” Grant said, speaking to The Sun.
“Just scroll to the bottom of the page, click ‘Report as inappropriate’.
“From there, you simply fill out a form highlighting your suspicions that the developer has nothing to say, and Google will take it from there.”
#6 – Don’t be afraid to delete
“Should you accidentally download a fake app, delete it immediately,” Grant said.
“If the icon does not appear on the screen, which often happens with data collection applications, go to the application settings and delete it from there.
“But just deleting the app doesn’t mean you’re no longer infected.
“You need to run antivirus software on your device to ensure that the malware is truly gone.
“You should also delete all junk files on your phone to remove traces of malware.”
#7 – Lock your accounts
“Finally, you should change all of your passwords and consider implementing multi-factor authentication where possible,” Grant recommended.
“Implementing MFA will ensure that if you fall victim to a fake app again, the cybercriminals behind it will not be able to access your account.
“The best providers will allow one-step MFA, which gives you all the protection of traditional MFA, but without the hassle of SMS or email codes.”
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