Security worries: how to play it safe with Android apps
Android is by far the most popular platform in the world of mobiles today. More and more people are turning to mobile devices because of the flexibility of devices and the pocket friendly handsets available in the market today.
However, the very fact that it is so popular means automatically that it is largely susceptible to hackers. The more a platform becomes popular; more are the chances that people will want to pry it open to get maximum data from it.
In this kind of a situation one has to be very careful while using applications. Although Android developers do their best to create secure apps, it wouldn’t hurt being careful yourself.
Sideloading is the phenomenon of uploading Android applications from sources other than Google Play, which is the official source of Android applications.
Although a lot of these third party app stores are quite reliable, there may still be a few that are really not up to the mark. In case you are planning to download an APK file, unless you know that your source is secure, you could be downloading a lot of viruses along your app.
Be absolutely certain that your source is a reliable one otherwise, the links that you click on to download and install an app, could probably hold interwoven links to a number of viruses.
Now it may be the case that you do not know the source of the app at all. You simply click to download an app and an unsuspecting you is bombarded with a number of websites.
To avoid this, you should disable unknown sources. In Android 4.0 and above, go to Settings > Security and Disable your Unknown source option. If you have the previous version of Android you can go to Settings > Applications to ensure the Unknown source box is not ticked.
Take it as a rule of thumb that whatever you need to download, do it from Google Play.
Since it is the certified and official Android app store, most of the apps are safe for download. However, no matter where you pick your apps from, it is best to check viewer ratings and reviews given by other users.
The user reviews are unhampered and can be submitted by genuine users. This is why knowing what the app really has to offer becomes a lot easier.
Again, do not rely completely on the comments by other reviewers because we cannot account for (nor does Google) the reliability of the reviewers. Note one thing, that the higher number of ratings indicates that more number of downloads an app has had. Check any search engine for the reviews and do a little research.
Check Updates As Well
What usually happens is that while we download an app we pay a lot of attention to malware, however, when the app auto updates itself, it slowly sneaks in more malware than we could ever suspect. This is why it is wise to check the updates as well.
If you fail to do this, the seriousness of the problem can range from data theft to an entire device malfunctioning. Understand that your phone is your personal device and by careless, you are opening doors for nefarious elements to fiddle around with your personal database.
This database can range from account numbers, to credit card details to date of birth or even personal pictures. How much damage it can do to you has no limits.
Jack Sutton is the head of a team of Android developers in London at VITEB-UK. Viteb-UK is renowned globally for having one of the best Android development teams in London. Other areas of specialisation include custom mobile application development at Viteb-Uk. To get more details visit VITEB.CO.UK.
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