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Category: Mobile Apps Page 1 of 2

Tips To Spot A Fake Android App

With a rapid upsurge in the number of smartphone users, businesses are increasingly providing mobile apps to their users. However, this increased use of smartphone apps has also garnered the attention of cybercriminals. They are finding different ways of targeting mobile phone users, the most common one being the use of fake apps. As Android devices capture 70% of the worldwide smartphone market, cybercriminals are targeting devices with fake Android apps.

What Are Fake Android Apps?

Fake Android apps are Android mobile phone programs that replicate the appearance and functionality of an authentic or popular app. The app duplicates the user interface of the genuine application to the point where users cannot distinguish between the two.

What Is The Purpose Of Fake App?

The underlying motive of a fake app is to attract users and trick them into downloading this compromised version instead of the legitimate app. The fake app may be infected with malicious code designed specifically to perform multiple functions such as, stealing mobile data, stealing financial data, introducing bugs to slow down mobile performance, aggressively displaying ads during use, etc.

How To Spot A Fake App?

Downloading a fake app can cause numerous damages to the victim such as financial loss, data loss, personal information theft, etc. So, it is important for mobile users to be vigilant and spot a fake app to avoid falling victim to hackers.

Here are some tips to spot a fake android app:

  • Check The Name: Every legitimate and popular app may have multiple fake alternatives. This is why, when a user searches for an app, he receives multiple results with similar names. So, check the correct name of an app before downloading it. Scrutinize the name for any spelling errors or jumbled words. Also, pay attention to the logo of the app.
  • Check Developer’s Name: Before downloading an app, research it to know the name of the developer of the original app. Knowing about the company that presents the app will make it easier to spot a fake app.
  • Read The Reviews: Take out some time to read the user reviews about an app. This will help in knowing about the experience of other users who downloaded the app. Be wary of downloading the app, if you see any reviews claiming to experience problems with device performance after downloading the app. This may be an indicator that the app contains embedded malware.
  • Read App Description: Another way to spot a fake app is to read the app description. In case the description contains misspelled words, grammar errors, or appears to be generated by a bot; it is advised to be cautious.
  • Permissions: Apps usually ask for permissions to use certain device functions to operate. But fake apps may ask for function permissions that are not required to the perform original functions of the app

Centex Technologies provide complete cybersecurity solutions for businesses. To know how to protect your businesses from cyber-attacks, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

What is Fleeceware?

Mobile applications are now integral to daily experiences such as shopping, dating, games, entertainment, etc. The increasing use of mobile apps has opened a sea of opportunities for cybercriminals. Cybercriminals are introducing new application-based cyber crimes such as Fleeceware.

Fleeceware is a category of mobile applications that have hidden fees or charges. These apps charge hefty monthly subscription charges after a brief free trial period. Sometimes, the charges are billed to the credit card saved in the device even after the user has uninstalled the app.

Undoubtedly, Fleeceware apps conduct consumer fraud, but they cannot be labeled as malware for the following reasons:

  • The apps perform the functions they claim to offer
  • App developers are free to ask for any price for their services, and funds aren’t stolen illegally
  • The app descriptions mention ‘Paid after free trial period’ and not free

Lack of consumer knowledge is one of the factors that leads Fleeceware apps to succeed. Some mobile device users fail to understand that they need to unsubscribe from an app before uninstalling it. Once the user provides payment details when installing an app, the app has the authority to charge a monthly bill from the saved credit card until the user unsubscribes from the app.

Why Are Fleeceware Apps Growing?

It is strange to notice that although most of the Fleeceware apps offer the same functions as free apps, users are still inclined to use them. Here are some ways that Fleeceware apps use to attract users:

  • They target novice and inexperienced mobile device users
  • The app developers implement clever marketing strategies and social media targeting
  • The app description usually includes an inflated number of downloads and reviews to manipulate users

Safety Tips Against Fleeceware Apps

A little caution can safeguard mobile device users from Fleeceware apps. Here are some preventive tips:

  • Use Authentic App Stores: Many third-party websites offer app downloads. These apps might be luring, but be cautious and use first-party app stores offered by Apple and Android operating systems as these app stores are less susceptible to fake apps.
  • Validate & Verify: It is important to verify and validate an app even when downloading from first-party app stores. Thoroughly check the app’s name before downloading it, read the terms and conditions, check the developer’s name, and research about the developer. Some points to consider are – is the app free or paid after a free trial, are the charges after the free trial period reasonable, and have any users complained of unsubscribing issues or hidden charges.
  • Track Your Subscriptions: Make it a habit to regularly track your subscriptions to see if you have forgotten to unsubscribe from an app that you have already uninstalled. Here is how you can track your subscriptions.
  • Report Apps: If you notice an unexpected charge from an app, unsubscribe, uninstall, and report the app to the app store.

Contact Centex Technologies for information on keeping your devices protected. Centex Technologies also provide solutions for IT network planning, cybersecurity, and hardware support. Call at: Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

Watch Out While Giving Permissions To Apps On Your Mobile Devices

You might have encountered pop-ups asking for permission to access certain details whenever you install an app on your mobile phone. We generally accept to grant access and that’s where we expose ourselves to cyber vulnerabilities & threats.

Permissions That Can Have Serious Repercussions –

  • Location – All apps generally ask for permission to track your location. If you install an app that contains malware and if you give app permission to track your location, then cyber criminals can keep a check over your movement.
  • Contacts – Some apps require you to allow them to gain access to your contact list. With this, you allow the app to see who all are in your “contact list” and what are their contact details. Apps can further use this information to market themselves. If hackers access this information, they can misuse the phone numbers, email ids of contacts known to you.
  • Gallery – If you download an app that asks for permission to peek through your gallery, then ensure that it is from a trusted source. One needs to be wary of giving permissions to such apps as cyber-criminals can use your photographs or even ask for ransom to exploit you.

Here we have listed certain ways to stay safe while giving permissions to apps on your mobile phones –

  • Read the app description thoroughly and make sure that you comprehend on each and everything before actually installing the app on your mobile phone.
  • Make sure that you download the app from a trusted source. If you are not sure, send an email to the developer and ask them about reasons why they require permissions. Download the app only if you are satisfied with their answers.
  • Check out whether the permissions asked by an app are required or not. For e.g. if you download an app that monitors your eating habits and it asks for permissions to access your gallery, then it is better to give it a miss because gallery has nothing to do with your eating regime.
  • The best way to ensure about authenticity of an app is to read the reviews of other people who have downloaded it. Read them thoroughly to gain an insight of complains or positive feedback about the app.
  • Manage your account permissions using permission manager apps. They help you manage the permissions and disallow them to gain access to other apps that contain your personal information like gallery, contacts etc.
  • Keep your phone updated and install a good anti-virus.
  • Do not download the app that asks for too many permissions than what are generally required.

It is extremely important to audit the app permissions every now and then to ensure that your personal and confidential information stays safe and private. For more information on IT Security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

Most Common Mobile Threats

Mobile phones have become a part and parcel of our lives. As per Statista, by 2020 there would be 9,038 million mobile phone users globally. With their increasing use, another important issue that comes into picture is the mobile security. Here we have listed some common mobile threats you must be aware of –

Data Leakage – Fraudulent apps seeking personal information can lead to data leakage and are a serious threat to mobile security. Mobile users need to be extra careful while granting permissions to various apps to gain access to gallery, notes and other folders. If a certain app requires you to fill in more information than what is generally required then it is best to avoid it.

Spyware – Your private information remains private no more. Spyware is a type of malware that collects information about the websites you visit, whereabouts and sometimes even your personal information. The collected data is then sent it to a third party without your consent or knowledge.

Viruses & Trojans – Viruses often masquerade themselves and come along with a program that seems legitimate. They can then hijack your personal information as well as sensitive login credentials or send unauthorized premium rate texts. Viruses can also enter your mobile when an app containing malware is installed on your phone.

IoT Threats – Almost all the devices are now connected with our smartphones. If a hacker gains access to your mobile phone then chances are that they can hack information available on other connected devices as well.

Network Spoofing – This often happens when you browse the internet using unknown Wi- Fi networks. Cyber criminals spoof the access points and then hack your emails, contact information etc. to use it for their benefit.

Out–Of-Date Software – There are higher chance of falling prey to a malware attack when your mobile phone runs on an outdated software that hasn’t been updated. Out-of-date software don’t have appropriate security patches often resulting in your pivotal information getting hacked.

Tips To Avoid Mobile Threats

  • Update your mobile system regularly.
  • Don’t set up easy passwords if you browse sites that contain sensitive login credentials.
  • Install a good mobile anti-virus software.
  • Download the apps from App store only.
  • Try to avoid using unknown Wi-Fi networks.
  • Read the end user agreement before actually downloading an app.

For more information on IT Security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

Facebook Launches “Friends Nearby” Feature

April 25, 2014

Social networking giant Facebook has never been the one to rest on past laurels. New features and improvements are a frequent part of the offerings on the website. Among the latest addition to the Facebook stable is a new feature called ‘friends nearby feature’.

What is “Friends Nearby Feature”:

  • This feature works by letting you know how far away you are from your friends in a particular location. This information can be shared for a limited period of time, but will definitely allow people to spend more time with one another in the ‘real’ world than they do ‘online’.
  • The ‘friends nearby feature’ was developed by an app team that Facebook acquired in the year 2012. The feature displays a list of nearby friends on all Facebook applications that work on IOS or Android systems. Moreover, if one of your friends has shared his exact location on Facebook and is very close to where you are, it will also display a map for the same.
  • The development of this new feature is primarily aimed at answering critics who believe that the social networking giant is isolating people from one another in the real world. By sharing the nearby locations, people can actually meet up with their friends for a hangout or dinner, thus validating Facebook’s basic premise which is to connect people.
  • Though certain privacy issues float around this feature, if people can manage those effectively, then there is bound to be room for plenty of meetings and hangouts with those who are close to them. For this, the Facebook apps on Android and IOS systems allow you to turn on the feature for a specific group of friends or everybody on your friend list. The choice is entirely yours.
  • Once you have decided on the list, the next step is to tap the ‘location’ icon next to the name of your friend. This will allow you to share your exact location with them. You can also key in a 40-character message stating what you are doing or that you intend to catch up.
  • If your friend is also using this feature, you can expect a response and hence plan your meeting. The feature also allows you the option of deciding on how much time you want to share your location with your friends.

What sets this latest offering from Facebook apart from others in the market is that it is based on broadcast proximity than location. This implies that you can share how close you are to someone without sharing the exact details. The feature will work through GPS on your mobile device and can be a great way to get back in touch with the people who matter in your life.

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