Mobile apps that are filled with malware are out there. This might not be a surprise. What may be a surprise is that you can easily avoid these apps. Further, keeping your phone clean isn’t difficult to do. What’s difficult is trying to get rid of mobile malware once you’ve installed it. Just how big is the mobile malware threat? It’s big enough that you should know your way around malicious apps. But, it’s not such a big problem that you can’t download anything new. The key here is that mobile malware is growing at a rapid rate. So, be prepared for whatever may come.
First Step: Research
How long does it take to find an answer? How fast can you type? If you see a new app that looks interesting, grab your laptop, tablet, or phone, and type the name of that app into your browser. You should come up with some basic information right away. From there, you can read about a development company, check reviews, and just find out if the app you are about to download is harmful. Research can seem like a long and tedious task, but this very basic step will save you a lot of grief.
Second Step: Go With Secure
Every once in awhile, an app is not available through major app stores (like the Apple Store or Google Play). When this happens, you may find that the only way to download an app is from a website. Now, there are two things to consider before downloading from a website. First, make sure that the site is reputable. For example, the Library of Congress is a safe and trustworthy site. A site called “XXXX DOWNLOAD!” is not. See how easy that was?
Second, if you aren’t sure just stick with the apps that you can buy in your respective app store. Apple scans all apps before allowing them entry into the App Store. Google is also getting a lot stricter with the apps that are allowed in the Google Play store. If you can’t find an app in your app store, go back to step number one and do your research.
Third Step: Don’t Just Say “Yes”
I know that reading fine print is a pain. You know that reading fine print is a pain. Guess what? App developers know that reading fine print is a pain. So, lots of fine print will confront you when you download most apps. This type of print is in the form of “permissions.” You will be asked things like “can this app post to Facebook for you?” and “can we send you push notifications?” Do yourself a favor and really read through these permission requests.
It’s really easy to just say “yes, yes, yes” to permission questions – especially if you just want to get to the app, already. But, saying “yes” without thinking about the question can be a dangerous game. Don’t just say “yes.” Think about what you are allowing, read the fine print, and don’t agree to everything. Lastly, if you do encounter a problem with an app, make sure to let other people know. You can review most apps, and preventing malware from spreading is really the best way to keep apps safe.