Malicious applications, regardless of the operating system, are not unprecedented, but their growth rate is dramatically increasing. In recent years, Android users have faced several malicious scam applications while a few months ago, iOS users found themselves in front of a similar scam experience that was previously unknown to them so far, as apps that supposedly helped track of fitness but actually used Apple’s Touch ID to steal money.
According to ESET, a security software development company, more and more specialized scams are expected on both mobile platforms. For this reason, the company recommends that users follow the steps below to keep themselves, their devices and their data secure.
Official app stores have limitations
Due to the huge amount of applications, much of the control procedures applied by official stores are automated. This means that individual application functions may not be perceived, so malicious applications are likely to penetrate the store. Knowing this information, users always have to be careful and check for themselves the reliability of their applications.
Read carefully reviews and ratings
Many times, there are positive reviews on scam applications, but if they are studied more closely, they seem to be false, for example they may be unclear, or make no sense. In this case, a good idea is to sort the reviews according to the “most useful” or “most important” filters.
The best time to find out if an application is scam is in the time before it is downloaded. However difficult it is to resist installation of the new, brand-new app you’ve found in the store, it’s better to wait a few days or weeks to complete a good number of ratings.
Choose a developer that you know and trust
Before you begin installing an app, first investigate whether the developer who has developed it has good reviews as well, and whether it has developed other popular apps. Generally, it’s a good practice if you’ve found a trusted developer, prefer to download applications only from them.
Study the functionality of your device
While it is not feasible to always have a full picture of what a device can do, you should know at least the basic details of its functionality. For example, your fingerprint data is never accessible to applications, so if you are prompted by an application to scan your finger to move forward, you should be cautious. Similarly, if your phone has features such as a QR scanner or a flashlight, you do not have to install an application that offers exactly the same function.
Have the developers developed other applications? Do they have good ratings? Do they have a website that looks professional with contact information? What results do you see if you search the web for the name of the app or the developer together with the word “scam”? Can you find more information about in-app purchases? Such searches can lead you to important information about whether an application is scam or not.
Request a refund and report
If you have already installed a scam app, and you have been the victim of money theft, ask the official store or bank connected to the payment card if it can return the lost amount. If the purchase was in the form of a subscription, the process may be more complex, but it is definitely worth it. It is also important to report scam applications, and do not neglect to write your review, helping other users alike.