At this time in our world, there’s an app for almost everything. There is an app for the coffee shop down the road and the highly popular bar in the center of town. There are also apps that help pass the time with colorful games, help you to stay organized with a variety of tools and claim the latest and greatest offers at well-loved stores. The list goes on and it’s no longer a surprise when we hear, “there’s an app for that.”
Downloading new apps can be fun, exciting and even helpful! However, before hitting the download button you’ll want to be sure the app you are downloading isn’t infected with any type of malware. Phones contain sensitive data that requires protection. Learn how to identify an unsafe app and prioritize app security with the steps below.
Always check your sources
Apps can be downloaded from a variety of sources including an app store or from a direct USB connection. First, it’s important to determine if an app is a first-party app or a third-party app. An app designed by the vendor of your phone would be considered a first-party application and a third-party app can be identified if it was created by someone else. Now, that doesn’t automatically suggest that all apps from an app store are safe to download and that third-party apps should be considered unsafe. It is important to know how to identify where an app is coming from to then determine if it is safe to download. Examine components such as the terms of service, app developer criteria and if the marketplace has removed such vendors due to displaying poor content.
Know your vendor and developer
Ask for permission
After installing an app, it will likely ask for your permission on a few things. (If it doesn’t, consider un-installing.) Vendors may ask for permission to access your location, images and videos, text messages and your network. It’s easy to skim over these and simply disregard what an app may be asking of you. Simply be aware of these permissions and take the time to read through them. It is an option to control what an app can and cannot access, but if the list of permissions is long it may be cause for concern.
Review the ratings, rate the reviews
This one is simple – look at user ratings, reviews and numbers! Is the app well received by other users and is there a generous number of downloads? If so, you’re on your way to being in the clear. If not, reevaluate the installation of the app.
In simple terms, your role is to be a responsible consumer. Following the suggestions above will allow you to familiarize yourself with identifying safe and unsafe characteristics of apps, as well as websites and more. For more security tips, visit the Secure360 blog where you can learn about cybersecurity, business continuity, physical security and other related topics.