Knowing how to spot one can keep your personal information safe
Numbers in smartphone apps have rapidly grown in the past couple years, so when the next big app is released it is only a matter of time before there are 20 knock-offs on the App Store.
Aside from copying the original app itself, these knock-off apps could be a lot more dangers than they appear – in particular, threatening the safety of your personal information
Nord VPN recently released research on app security and downloading and found that if a fake/copy app isn’t free, asking for any credit card information, and anything related to payment then it is high risk.
“It has been asserted that while some apps simply have the aim to share ads, there are also many that seek to steal the user’s identity and credit card information,” Nord VPN stated. “These apps can use malware to steal personal information or can even tinker with the phone and lock it up until the user pays a ransom”.
Nord VPN also recommends the following ways to monitor for fake apps:
– Incorrect use of language.
Since most fake apps are made in haste, often where English is not a native tongue, they might use broken English grammar. Users should pay attention to spelling and grammar in any app descriptions if they have any doubts about its originality.
– Lack of reviews.
Fake apps typically won’t have any user reviews – so that’s a definite sign an app could be a fake.
– It’s especially important to pay attention to retail apps.
Many fake retail apps pop up before major holidays – such as Zappos, Nordstrom, Christian Dior and many others. Retail apps that ask users for their credit card info should be especially monitored.
– Correct developer’s name.
Users need to check for the name of the developer in the corresponding category, and avoid downloading apps that have a wrong or misspelled developers’ name.
– Website domains in the title.
Some apps will feature the website in their title – that might also be a red flag.
– Variety of Apps.
If an app is fake, the developer is likely making all sorts of apps that can cover anything from gardening to games to retail shopping.
– Leading to the website.
If it’s a paid app or if it conducts any transactions and if it does not lead to a company website, something is amiss.
If the app promotes a deal that is too good to be true, be suspicious.