At some point in our lives, we’ve all found ourselves on the wrong side of an app but never really knew the possible threats behind it. There are so many apps on the Android and iOS Stores that come with malware and all sorts of viruses that you wouldn’t even be able to put a number to it.
However, there are many apps that you’ll be able to tell apart from the rest, mainly because of the numerous negative reviews, user-experiences, the way the thumbnails are designed and much more.
There are certain apps that you’ll never guess that come with the most vulnerabilities, and this is why you need to read this guide before settling for just any app in the future.
You’ll see that most children today find themselves downloading all sorts of apps onto their parent’s phones or tabs. There are even cases where parents fail to supervise or keep track of the kinds of downloads being processed.
For instance, TikTok has over a billion subscribers, with most of the users being under aged kids. The app itself is now to be blocked within the US if certain terms aren’t met with.
It’s believed that TikTok is a threat to National Security. It’s also believed that the Chinese government is actively spying on US citizens as well as militants through these apps.
So, now imagine if a popular multi-billion dollar app like TikTok comes with compromisations, what are other apps in comparison to it?
According to Avast…
They identified a whole bunch of malicious apps on the iOS and Android Stores that were being downloaded like wildfire. Let’s just say they collectively reached up to 2.4 million downloads, rendering around $500,000 in revenue.
And guess what? These very apps were promoted through multiple ads all across TikTok. Since the adverts were constantly on full display all over the platform, a little girl from Czech Republic caught wind of an unusual amount of traffic heading out from a particular profile where these apps were being circulated.
She immediately reported it to Avast (a cybersecurity company), and after they did a little digging found out seven adware scams across these apps. They were from both the Android and iOS Stores, but what was unusual was the amount of downloads being generated in a short amount of time.
However, it’s reported that the young girl was a part of the Avast security program where she acquired a few skills in an online workshop for youth. This helps the younger generation identify apps that could ultimately be an issue in the long run.
What malicious apps were identified in the mix?
Most of the apps that were detected posed as hidden Trojans, anonymizing themselves as authentic sources, phishing for downloads.
If you’ve downloaded any of these following apps from the Google and Apple Stores, it’s about time you take a complete clear sweep of your devices and discard of them as quickly as you can. Here’s what the apps look like:
- Shawky App Free
- Shock My Friends
- Ultimate Music Downloader
- Free Download Music
- 666 Time
- Live Wallpapers
- Shock my Friend Tap Roulette
- Safety AppLock
- Convenient Scanner 2
- Push Message-Testing&SMS
- Emoji Wallpaper
- Separate Doc Scanner
- Fingertip GameBox
How you can protect your devices from shady apps in the future
It’s never too late to catch on to a malicious app, or take necessary precautions to prevent it in the future. Cybersecurity is important, and needs to be taken very seriously. Even a little daily reading can go a long way. If you look below, you’ll find a few tips that need consideration regarding avoiding malicious apps.
Use a VPN
There are many notable VPN services available that offer malware protection. They also offer other security measures like the best encryption standards, a Kill Switch, leak protection and more that make sure all your data throughout your devices are safe. The VPN you choose doesn’t even need to be expensive. There are many premium providers that are offering the best VPN deals right now.
Use an Antivirus software
Just like a VPN, an anti-virus is another software that can help prevent malware or viruses from taking over your system. They protect your device from viruses that can destroy your system, scan for malicious downloads or links, running a complete sweep.
Most computers offer Firewall protection. For instance, on a Windows 10, you’ll be able to toggle the settings and enable the Windows Defender Firewall to filter out malicious websites, apps, links, downloads you name it! However, to enable these settings, you’ll also have to use a public WiFi.
Verify the safety from the App Stores itself
Before you proceed to install an app from any of the Stores, you’ll always receive a protection badge letting you know whether or not the app is safe. For instance, when you’re about to install an app from the Google Play Store, it will scan the app for any issues. If it’s clear you’ll receive a green badge saying “No problems found”. This method should even be used while downloading certain VPN apps, as they come with vulnerabilities too.
Update your device and system
Sometimes when downloading security apps, always make sure that they’re up to date. Most vulnerabilities and easy attacks are targeted through older versions of apps. Many WhatsApp accounts were once hacked through older versions. Always make sure you update your apps, along with running a thorough sweep through your device, making sure everything is installed to the latest versions.
There are countless of apps on the Google Stores and the Apple Store, and sometimes it may not be very easy to identify them easily, but there are always ways to tell if an app is authentic or comes with vulnerabilities. If that young Czech girl was able to identify some shady apps, by taking up a few courses, the rest of us need to take active care as well. If kids are being given easy access to these platforms, guardians need to step up and take control. Situations like these aren’t to be taken lightly. One small slip through a malicious app can cause a lot of damage, compromising your data, device and privacy.
Author/Bio: Jade Nazareth is a writer for topvpnservice. She takes avid interest in writing cybersecurity how-to guides and blogs on reliable security software reviews. She aims to inform the general public about the need of cybersecurity measures.