Things You must be Aware of While You are Installing apps from Play Store
Google Play, also known as Play Store, is the most popular app store for installing various games, movies, books, and other forms of mobile applications for Android phones. Launched in the year 2008 by the name of ‘Android Market’, Play store has now managed to establish itself as the market leader for installing apps. Play store has billions of users who come forward to get the tons of apps which they want to use, as per their requirements. Some of the apps are offered for free, whereas some of the apps charge a certain amount of money for their access.
Does the popularity of Play Store and threats to the users go hand-in-hand?
It is a well-known fact that there are pros and cons to having a large number of users for an app store as huge as Google Play Store. The pros are that there is a larger variety of apps available for all categories, which helps the users to find their desired apps easily.
But the increasing number of apps poses a threat to the users to a certain level, because some of these apps may have malware in them, which might either disrupt the normal functioning of the phone or try to steal important data from it.
Does Google not take any steps to prevent such threats from arising?
Even though Google does a regular screening of the apps before they are launched on Play Store, there have been certain instances reported which have posed a serious threat to the users. For example, in the year 2017, over 40 ‘Game Guide’ apps on the Play Store were infected with a dangerous malware called ‘FalseGuide’, which was capable of gaining administrator access to infected files by way of showing pop-up ads as well launching DDoS (distributed-denial-of-service) attacks. As soon as Google Play got information about this, it removed all those apps from the Play store, but by that time approximately two million people had already downloaded them.
Google Play has banned over 700,000 apps from the Play Store due to their abusive or malicious content. Moreover, there has been a 70% increase in the number of banned apps as compared to 2016.
What can the users do now that they are surrounded by threats on Play Store?
Malicious content always looms around in some ways or other in Google Play. The best thing that the users can do is to make sure that they go through the following steps before installing any app from Play Store –
- Scrutinise the user’s experience of the app
In the homepage of the app, there will be an option called user reviews and ratings, where the people who have downloaded the app talk about their experience and also give ratings based on their use of the app. It is very crucial to carefully look into some of the reviews because they will surely give you an idea about some threat which the app might pose to the device. Based on this, you can decide whether to download the app or not.
- Don’t blindly install apps which have the maximum downloads
Most of the time, people tend to get attracted to install the apps which are very popular and have maximum downloads. But not all popular apps are safe since there have been many cases wherein apps with over thousands of downloads have been detected with malicious software. So the popularity of an app does not guarantee its safety.
- Make sure you have good anti-virus software installed
The best thing you can do to have a guaranteed protection for your mobile phone is to get anti-virus software installed. The reason for this is very simple since anti-virus software is equipped with the necessary tools to automatically detect threats from any of the apps. They issue warnings to the users, asking them to delete malicious apps from their phones.
- Permissions asked by the app
Most of us have the habit of carelessly accepting all the terms and conditions of the app, thereby granting the app permission to access specific data and functions on our phones. The user should clearly and carefully understand why the app needs permission to access the data of the phone like contacts, location, etc. Once the user is satisfied with the terms and conditions, then only permission has to be given.
- Download apps only from trusted mobile application development companies
Nowadays, many mobile apps are being designed by random mobile app developers, who might themselves be unaware of the threats that their apps might impose. For example, if the system in which the app was designed was infected with some malware, then the app will carry the malware to other devices where it is downloaded. This is the reason why you should install only those apps which have been developed by trusted android mobile application development companies since they will ensure that the apps designed by their developers are free from any malware or other malicious content.
Hence, the users need to be more careful while installing apps from the Play Store and also other platforms, so that they do not face any security problem.
- What should the Android mobile application development companies do to protect users from the threats on the Play Store?
Android Mobile Application development companies should make sure that they have installed the best anti-virus software on the computer systems of the app developers. They should also thoroughly scrutinise each and every aspect of the apps which they develop so that no security threat crops up on their installation.