Tech Tips

How to Avoid Downloading a Malicious Application

How to Avoid Downloading a Malicious Application

Malicious attacks on mobile platforms are becoming progressively common, in fact surfacing through new Android malware. With this trend, hackers have long initiated a form of attack that allows you give out your information to a service developer as a trusted one (phishing).

To buttress this point, you log onto Google play store or any app downloading platform and identify a particular app you want.

Before downloading that app, you may need to give out your email or something with the mindset that it’s a trusted app. When you do that, cybercriminals take advantage of it, which is called phishing.

For instance, the Google Play store has reached over 2.7 million apps published and over 50 billion app downloads, as of February 2017. Now, you can imagine if hackers are not inflicting their malicious attacks on the download ecosystem. Although, Google had put security measures in place to ensure that Android users are safe.

There is no doubt that Google Play Store is the safest place to download applications but one way or the other, some apps still get infected by hackers.

Before now, Google employed a digital Bouncer to keep some of these hackers out of its Google Play Store (Android app market). But that didn’t stop some Chinese hackers in 2015 to infect the Brain Test app, affecting at least 200,000 Android phones, possibly as many as 1 million, according to a security expert.

The hackers used “a combination of very sophisticated techniques to get past the Google Bouncer” Michael Shaulov, Head of Mobility at Check Point, said.

Meanwhile, there are worries that the Google Play Store could be a destination for hackers considering the number of users, as well as the regulatory control to becoming a developer on the platform. Developing and getting your app listed on the Google Play Store is not as difficult on getting it done on iOS.

“With Android, any developer can create an account with a one-off payment of USD 25, upload an application, and have it published within 24 hours. In contrast, the cost of iOS development membership is more than USD 99 per year and the app approval waiting period can last weeks.

This trend has even affected the Apple App Store, which theoretically has more controls than the Google Play Store for Android,” Denise Giusto Bilić, ESET Security Researcher, said in a 2017 IT security trends report.

However, I have outlined some tips on how to make sure you identify the safe and legitimate applications for download.

  • You have to thoroughly investigate the app developer credentials if you are the type that is cautious about security. However, at this point, it’s no longer an option; you have to start developing that security consciousness in you.

Just bear in mind that Google Play is Android’s default app store, however, if you intend downloading an app, read reviews and check the developer’s credentials at the bottom of the app’s page in the Google Play Store.

-Of course, there is no way you should not use anti-virus programs that would allow you fish out malicious applications. You need efficient ones like McAfee Mobile Security. This can keep your device secure from any malicious schemes from hackers.

  • Turning off default security settings is another way of giving room for hackers to operate. The fact remains that malicious activities are so sophisticated that it can circumvent virus detectors and app stores if a user changes the device’s default security settings.

A typical example of how you can change the default security settings is when you root or jailbreak your smartphone. Jailbreaking and rooting break the rules of your smartphone, it can as well add some functionality to your smartphones, but that is not a pass mark to such technical activities.

About the author

Editor, telling your stories, through the right channels, to the right audience, guaranteeing you value.