The world we live in is becoming more and more mobile. The need to do things here and now is becoming greater. Banking transactions are being performed more frequently on mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets. Online shopping is another activity that consumers frequently undertake on their mobile devices. The “tipping point”, where customers choose mobile devices over PCs is sliding steadily towards mobile devices.
With all of this in mind, consumers need to be aware of the dangers of fake or “rogue” apps. These rogue apps usually live on unofficial app store websites or are distributed via email links. They rarely appear on legitimate app stores, such as Google Play or iTunes. However, fake copies of the Google Plays Store exist, which can house these rogue apps. There are various types of rogue apps in existence which vary from nuisance activity to malicious behaviour. Nuisance apps will make your phone act erratically; adware apps will randomly launch advertisements while you are using your phone; and some apps will load malicious software onto your phone, which can corrupt or steal your stored information. All of these malicious apps are after one thing – the data and information stored on your phone. China is one country where this type of cyber-attack is prevalent.
Knowing how to protect yourself from these rogue apps is important. Here are a few tips:
- Always download apps and app updates from legitimate stores, like iTunes or Google Play. Don’t click on links for apps from emails or websites. Go to the legitimate store and do a search for the app you want.
- Look at who developed the app. If a banking app wasn’t developed by the bank itself, it probably isn’t legitimate.
- Check what permissions the app requires on your mobile device. For instance, if a Torch App needs access to your contact list or needs permission to send text messages, be suspicious.
- Read reviews on the app store, prior to installing a new app. Other people have already done the leg work for you. Use it!
Scams through attacks on mobile devices are becoming more prevalent. Although it is mainly in the Android space, Apple, Windows and other devices are never completely safe. Always do your research before installing a new app and be aware that any online transactions you are doing from a mobile device are potentially putting you at risk of cyber-attacks.