Official stores like the App Store are no strangers to viruses and fraudulent applications.  (Photo: Unsplash/James Yarema)

Application stores such as the App Store and Play Store offer a large catalog of programs to download. Manzanafor example, has 1.8 million apps, while that of Google it has 3.8 million. Due to these large numbers, there is a risk of finding a malicious application, experts warn.

What should we check before downloading any app on the official stores? We talked about it with two specialists and these were their recommendations.

Number of downloads

The first step before installing an app is to review the number of downloads that you have in the official store, in addition to the reviews about its features. These factors will give youan approximation” of the reliability of the application, he told Trade Horatiu Bandoiu, Cybersecurity Expert at Bitdefender.

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app type

Bandoiu explains that the most common facades of fake applications are those that promise to solve daily necessities, such as editing photos, earning fast money, games, dating apps, among others. “Some of these apps are intended as malware, (…) are counterfeits from online stores or well-known brands, or free versions of apps”, he details.

According to Martina López, Computer Security researcher at ESET Latin America, fraudulent apps aim at “wide range of people”, so they camouflage themselves as calculators or mobile games, and thus fulfill their objectives of stealing information, money or spying on users.

Official stores like the App Store are no strangers to viruses and fraudulent applications. (Photo: Unsplash/James Yarema)

Registration Complexity

Another aspect to take into account is the registration process and permits what the app asks you for. “When a simple application requires a complex process, it is quite likely that you will find yourself facing a fake app”, explains the Bitdefender specialist.

For its part, the ESET representative adds that we should suspect an app when it requires unnecessary permissions for its functionality “such as access to our files, camera or microphone”.

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In-app payments

Martina López also tells us that an application can be fraudulent if “request payment for products, services or features that are not guaranteed and for which there are no reviews (…) or if you promise great gifts or discounts if we provide personal data or money”.

To avoid this danger, Horatiu Bandoiu recommends carefully analyzing the terms and Conditions of the app, which must specify purchases within the program.

phone performance

Another sign of downloading a scam or spy app is poor battery performance, mobile data, or a change in settings”, says Bandoiu. Also, be careful with apps that have low-quality images, “even if it is a well-known company, it is better to take precautions”.

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What to do if I already downloaded it?

Bandoiu recommends preventing this situation with an antivirus on the smartphone. However, if the application has already affected our security, it should be report the app in the store from which it was downloaded. The next thing is to delete the app if it is a virus or, in the case of a monetary scam, keep it and present it as evidence to the authorities and to our bank.

López also recommends cleaning the mobile device or, if it has suffered a deeper attack, restoring the phone’s factory data. Likewise, it is appropriate to change the credentials and passwords of all accounts.

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