The convenience and fun that contemporary mobile technology offers are beloved by billions of smartphone users. Our phones are crucial tools for navigating the modern world since there are so many more possibilities for different apps, software, and technology. Apps are extremely convenient; no matter what you need, you can almost always find an internet app for it. But what if that brand-new dating service or software for learning a language isn’t what it seems to be? Not every app is risk-free. It happens frequently that you come across some malicious apps, and this often led you to think about, how to identify or spot fake apps in app stores, and sometimes it’s difficult to notice them.

Cyber criminals develop fake apps with harmful code intended to steal your data. To fool users into installing them, fake applications are designed to replicate the appearance and functionality of real apps. This is used by fake apps to obtain your data, frequently without your awareness. In the article, we’ll discuss malicious apps and how to spot fake apps.

What are Fake Apps?

A fraud app may cause a lot of damage once it has been downloaded to your phone. False apps might aggressively display adverts to generate cash from advertising, infect your device with malware, or steal your account information to be used elsewhere online without your consent. To do their nasty work, fake apps are made to dupe users into thinking they are genuine apps. The motives could change. While some fraud apps will display obnoxious advertisements, others may track your online behavior, install malware, and steal your data.

Types of Fake Apps

Types of Fake Apps

Your data privacy will always suffer as a result of a cybercriminal using a bogus app to defraud you. Here are the categories the malicious apps are categorized.

Imposters

These bogus applications imitate popular ones to resemble the original. To deceive users, they may utilize similar names, descriptions, and even user interfaces. An impostor that you download may leave you with viruses and a depleted bank account.

Repackages

Many applications perform what they claim to do—a flashlight, calorie meter, step counter—but in reality, they steal data or infect your smartphone.

Inappropriate Information

These are applications that encourage violence, hate speech, unlawful activity, or pornography. It might be a straightforward alarm clock or a racing game that continuously slams you with offensive advertisements or directs you to dangerous websites.

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The Difference between a Fake App and a Real App

Some fake apps are designed to display advertisements aggressively to generate cash. The majority of consumers have trouble telling the difference between legitimate and fraudulent apps. If fake apps haven’t been spotted or reported, they can still be available on trusted app marketplaces like Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

Some false applications are made to take permission and are capable of controlling your camera, taking photographs with it, sending text messages, and stealing your data. Through a false app, hackers might potentially take a person’s identity, which would be problematic for the users. Fake apps are generally clones of real apps with fraudulent intentions.

How to Identify Fake Apps?

How to Spot Fake Apps vs Real Apps

If you’re thinking about, how to spot malicious apps, it is a bit trickier than it sounds, but keeping the below-listed tips in mind, you can find it effortlessly.

Look at the ratings: 

Look at the ratings of Apps

If an app has a poor rating and a lot of user complaints, be on the lookout. However, as phony app developers frequently create pathetic reviews to lure users into installing their software, universally good ratings might potentially be a warning sign. Trust your intuition and search elsewhere if the reviews seem too wonderful to be true.

Watch out for grammatical issues: 

Reputable app developers normally take care to prevent typos and errors in their app descriptions. Be cautious if you see grammar mistakes in the app description.

Check for the downloads number: 

Trustworthy apps may have millions or even billions. A well-known software with only a few thousand downloads can be a hoax.

Look into the developer:

To learn more about a developer, simply Google their name. This will enable you to determine their credibility. The developer name of a fake app may occasionally be the same as that of its legitimate equivalents, with one or two letters modified to fool users into thinking they are the genuine deal. Pay particular attention to the specifics, especially if there are additional causes for suspicion.

Verify the publication date:

When was the app made available? It’s probably a scam if it displays a recent date but has a large number of downloads. This is because reliable apps with plenty of downloads typically exist for a longer time.

Examine the permissions contract:

Before downloading the application, read the permission agreement. Additional authorizations that are not technically essential are frequently requested by fake applications.

Examine the update frequency:

If an app is updated too often, there may be a large number of security flaws.

Look at the icon:

The symbol of a fake app may resemble the icon of the original app it is mimicking. This frequently occurs when imitations of popular games are used. Don’t be fooled by twisted, inferior imitations of genuine symbols; pay great attention.

Threats of Fake Apps

If you think about how to identify Fake apps, discussing threats is very important. These are frequently risky apps, intended to attack your data. Threats of fake apps include:

Ad bots: 

Repacked applications frequently contain advertisements that are absent from the genuine, free versions, and your phone may start seeing unforeseen advertisements as well.

Billing fraud: 

Billing fraud happens when fake apps charge items to your phone bill automatically and without your permission. Making collection calls, sending premium SMS messages, or making purchases from an app store are a few examples.

Botnet:

The risky apps secretly employ the smartphone in DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, bitcoin mining, or spamming.

Hostile downloaders: 

These risky apps don’t include malicious code, but they start additional harmful apps from being downloaded into your smartphone without your permission.

Phishing: 

A fake app could ask you for your login information or link you to a website to achieve that (or infect you via that website). Then, cybercriminals take your login information to use it maliciously. It is one of the easiest ways to get the answer about how to identify fake apps.

Privilege escalation:

Privilege escalation applications work to circumvent the number of privileges that are permitted on your device. As a result, either fundamental security features are disabled or access to higher privileges is granted.

Ransomware: 

Some phony applications are used to install ransomware on your device. Your data is thereby rendered unreadable and encrypted. Hackers will ask you for money to regain access to your data.

Rooting: 

Also known as jailbreaking, rooting apps contain code that roots the device. Legitimate programs may root, and not all rooting apps are bad; nonetheless, real apps ask for user permission before doing any hazardous operations on your device.

Spam: 

Spam applications contain code intended to use your smartphone in an email spam campaign or send unwanted messages to your contacts.

How to Protect Yourself from a Fake Apps?

Not all apps are worth your attention and time; they are intended to attack your data. Here are a few tips on how to identify fake apps and stay aware of them.

Use only authorized App Stores.

Even while authentic app stores offer a lot of fake apps, they’re still your best bet. Do not download applications from app stores or websites run by other parties.

Avoid clicking on dubious pop-ups or links sent to you by SMS.

Do your homework before acting, even if it appears to be a message from a bank asking you to upgrade your app. To fool you into installing malware, hackers frequently pose as financial organizations.

Make two-factor authentication enable.

You may save a lot of money by taking an extra step when login into services. Turn on two-factor authentication if your credit cards are linked to any applications. Even if thieves were to get hold of your password, they would be unable to access your account.

Keep up with software updates.

Regular upgrades improve the security of your smartphone and reduce your risk of attack. On your phone, you may simply get the available updates. When you spot a fake app or website that offers to upgrade your system, strictly avoid that.

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Final Words

Smartphones are an integral and irreplaceable part of our life, and keeping them safe is one of the most crucial tasks. If you plan to download an app, use only Google Play Store for Android and Apple App Store for iOS devices, and if this isn’t much try running a web search. Once you spot a fake app, don’t just uninstall the app, but report it on the official app stores. Make all the efforts to protect your device, and don’t fall for the fake apps.

Richa Sharma
Author

Enthusiastic for Technology, Richa Sharma has zeal in experimenting with her knowledge of Latest technologies. She keeps on updating her technical know-how thus pinning her name among the topmost COOs and her contribution is penned down by her thorough blogs on various technical aspects. She loves to decipher the latest technologies.

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