As an avid smartphone user, do you get frustrated at not finding the app you want on the official Google Play Store or App Store? For instance, if you are in India and wanted to check out TikTok, you won’t find it on either of these platforms as the Indian government has banned it for security reasons.
For Millenials, third-party app stores is an easy option and a great place to sideload such apps. These unknown sources offer lower prices or additional goodies, thus attracting users or developers to download apps. However, these unauthorized app stores are not safe and can put you at risk of affecting your device or losing personal data.
Do you open yourself up to download apps from elsewhere and expose yourself to the risks that come with it? Here’s why you need to be extra careful of these free platforms and stay safe from malicious apps.
Google Play™ and Apple App Store® are the two biggest official app stores, allowing users worldwide to download Android or iOS mobile native applications. Both platforms have apps from third-party developers as well, which are checked thoroughly before being displayed for users. Is it safe to download these apps?
Google and App store follow strict rules and vets the application for any malware. Even the third-party apps in these official app stores follow strict development criteria, giving users a better chance of downloading safe applications. Still, things can get complicated.
Even though third-party stores offer plenty of safe applications, there is also a higher chance that they might proffer even dangerous ones. And those apps can affect your smartphones or tablets with malicious codes like ransomware or adware. There have been instances in the past where malicious apps were found even on the official stores, as well as, users were prompted to install fake versions of the app.
This gives rise to an argument—if malware authors can evade Google & Apple’s strict vetting procedures, can you imagine the kind of unrestrained playing fields they get on unauthorized mobile app stores?
For example, when India’s BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app was first launched, it was only available on Google Play. But did you know, there were several replicates of the app found in the store as well as on unauthorized app stores?
There are several risks involved while downloading apps from unauthorized app stores. Some might slow your system till you can’t access it anymore, while some may have more nefarious motives like they will access your personal information and send them to the app owner or another attacker group. Malicious apps may come with backdoors allowing threat groups to access your device or even block you from using your device.
Downloading apps even from official app stores can be fraught with risk. And that is why you should never even consider accessing unauthorized mobile app stores, no matter what they offer. Also, be extra careful while downloading apps from official app stores, check the reviews and the manufacturer details; during the installation process, see what permissions the app is requesting. Always ensure you download the official app and not the duplicate version.
You can also effortlessly minimize the risk from malicious apps by opting for Quick Heal Total Security for Android. It offers advanced protection from viruses, malware, harmful apps, and mobile banking threats with just a few clicks.