mobile app related crimes
More and more consumers are shifting to smartphones, tablets and other devices powered by the previously discussed OSes.
This signifies its being a viable target for several cybercriminal attacks to infect devices and spread malicious activities.
Among all the other mobile app stores, the Android Market has been targeted with several incidents of malicious or Trojanized apps.
Because of Android’s open nature policy and lax regulations for app developers, it is easier for potential attackers to upload and distribute malware disguised as apps via the Android Market.
Moreover, third-party app stores expose more potential risks to users.
Applications distributed through ‘app stores’ currently pose the greatest malware risk to all mobile operating systems and according to the experts, will continue to do so in the future.
While created as a means to distribute applications to mobile phone users, app stores provide an ideal transport mechanism for the delivery of malicious software to high volumes of mobile devices.
Mobile operating system developers manage app stores. They include the Apple App Store, Android Market, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, Blackberry App World, or Nokia’s Ovi Store; by known third- party organisations such as Amazon.com or by unknown third party companies.
However the way apps are set up and their relative lack of safeguards makes them soft targets for hackers.
Furthermore, the companies that maintain the app stores make no guaranty about the safety or quality of the apps. Users download apps and install them at their own risk.
Fake apps may redirect customers to illegitimate websites with the purpose of stealing personal and financial information.
Fake apps will pose as security updates, and clicking on the links may also lead to your information being stolen.
If you receive an unexpected SMS, a strange alert or notification, or unusual requests from what may seem to be your bank or other familiar brand, beware, criminals may be trying to rip you off.
Be cautious of links you receive in email and text messages that might trick you into installing apps from third party or unknown sources.
1. Be suspicious of apps that promise very high shopping discounts.
2. Check the publisher of the app. Criminals can use similar names; so be careful.
3. Check other user’s reviews and ratings. A fake app will likely have zero reviews while a real app will likely have thousands.
4. Check the date of publications. A fake app will have a recent date of publishment, while a real one will have an "updated on" date.
5. Check how many times the app has been downloaded.
6. Look for spelling mistakes in the title or description. Take extra caution if it looks like the language isn't the developers' first language.
7. Read the app’s permissions. Check which types of data the app can access, and if it can share your information with external parties.
Does it need all these permissions? If not, don’t download it.
8. When in doubt, visit the official website of the brand or seller and look for the icon or button that reads "Get our app".
9. Install security software to safeguards your phone.