Nowadays, there is an app for everything– do you need to shop online? There’s an app for that. Are you looking for an efficient way to stay productive? There is an app for that. Do you want to watch movies? There is an app for that.
There are thousands of apps that make our lives so much easier and more accessible. Due to its popularity, cybercriminals have taken this as an opportunity to target individuals through fake apps. And because we have become so dependent on apps, it’s easy to get tricked.
What are fake apps?
Fake apps are apps created by cybercriminals to cause harm to users and their devices. They are designed to resemble legitimate apps but instead are used for malicious intent. This includes tracking your activity, installing malware, showing annoying ads or stealing personal information.
How to spot a fake app
- Check the icon
Fake apps may display an icon that looks close to identical to the real one. This is often the case when cybercriminals mimic popular apps. Look closely and ensure that the icon is sharp and of high quality.
- Check the reviews
This is one of the most effective ways to spot a fake app. If the app rating is low and notices a lot of negative reviews, it’s a red flag. On the other hand, you need to be mindful of the positive reviews as well. Fake app creators usually generate fake reviews to lure users into downloading the app. If they are too good to be true, it’s best to look for an alternative.
- Check the number of downloads
Legitimate apps can have millions of downloads. If you see a popular app eg. WhatsApp, with only several thousand downloads, it could be a fake.
- Review the permission agreement
It’s vital to read the fine print before you download the app. Normally, fake apps will ask for additional authorisation that is not necessary. However, it is easy to miss this because most people don’t read the fine print.
- Check the release date
Checking the release date is important. If it shows a recent date but with a high number of downloads, it’s likely a fake. This is because legitimate apps with high downloads usually have been on the market for a while.