Our smartphones are increasingly becoming a more important fixture to our everyday lives. From using it for work, productivity, mobile banking, games and social media, the apps we use and download without thinking can have all kinds of access to our information.
Apps from the app store can be retrieving all kinds of your data without you realising it. Data such as your phone contacts, your call logs list, your personal messages, your microphone, your camera, your location and even your storage.
Hence, before you hit that “Download” button, here are eight basic security tips to take into account that would only take a minute of your time to follow, but could save you a myriad of viruses, malware and harm that could wreck your smartphone.
This is a basic thing to look out for before downloading an app. Can you really trust an app if it has only a handful of downloads?
Check the publisher of the app. Is it a well-known publisher in the market? Hackers or less-than-honest parties would design apps to make it seem to have similar names, or spin-offs of an original, popular app.
Real apps will tend to have more recent updates on their apps because their team are constantly working to improve it. Check for when the date of the last “updated on” was.
An app getting a ton of bad reviews and one-star ratings? This is a red flag! Real apps will have lots more user reviews and ratings, while fake ones may not have any at all.
Read up on the permissions that you are giving away to your app when you are downloading it. Is it requesting for types of data which is completely unrelated to the function of the app? Is it asking for your permission to share your information with other external parties?
(Read also: 4 Ways To Check What Data Your Apps Have Access To)
Uh oh. Take extra caution if there are plenty of spelling or grammar mistakes in the app’s title or in its description. A real app would have gone through its team for vetting before it was released to the public. So if there is an app with questionable spelling or with caPiTaLisaTion in places it should not be, skip it.
If you are still in doubt, visit the official website of the app or brand you are looking for. They should have an icon to download or directions to find their official app on their website.
There are plenty of reasons why it is a smart idea to use a VPN on your smartphone. Besides encrypting the data on your phone, it will help maintain your privacy when you are surfing on public Wifi or travelling with your phone.