Mobile applications can be fun, especially since many are free, but did you know that their popularity has made them a growing target for malware? Cybercriminals have been busy distributing malicious apps designed to steal the information stored on your smartphone, or even send out expensive texts without your knowledge. Often they try to hook you with free apps masquerading as games or other useful applications, such as calculators. Don’t let the cybercriminals fool you. Follow these five tips for avoiding bad apps and increasing your mobile security:
- Be aware of bad apps—Just knowing about the problem can help you avoid malicious applications. This way you will be suspicious when you see negative reviews of an app, or come across a free app that seems too good to be true.
- Do your research—Before downloading an app, check other users’ ratings and read reviews of the publishers. It’s always best to install apps that are in broad use or are recommended by your friends and colleagues.
- Only purchase from a reputable app store—Stick with legitimate vendors, such as Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Android users can also avoid installing non-market applications by deselecting the “Unknown Sources” option in their device’s Application Settings menu.
- Check the permissions—When you are installing an app, check to see if it is asking for permission to access any software or hardware components that seem suspicious or unnecessary. For instance, if a game application is asking for access to your contacts and camera, think twice about installing it.
- Get mobile security—Before downloading any new apps, make sure you install mobile antivirus software on your phone to help protect you from malicious applications and other mobile threats.
Since bad apps are a growing opportunity for cybercrooks, it’s best to stay aware and protected. Check your mobile bill each month to look for any suspicious charges and consider mobile protection, such as McAfee® Mobile Security, which provides mobile antivirus, backup and restore functions, as well as the ability to locate and track your device. McAfee Mobile Security is also available as part of McAfee® All Access, which provides protection for all of your devices.