Staying safe these days with malware, scams, data breach, fake apps and more surrounding us is not easy. And the recent, finding made by Android developers is shocking. They have detected a clever tactic used by hackers to steal data. What happens is, they camouflage apps on Play Store and make users download them. Tricksters create listing that look exactly like popular apps, for this they even use similar looking icon, images and even the identical name. This helps them to get a good number of installs, bombard users with ads or in worst case malware. Especially, business apps downloaded by users on their Android phone are targeted.
Here’s how they fool them into doing so.
With increase in number of Android users, the market of malicious Android app is prospering. Hackers take advantage of Android’s open platform and penetrate into the device via fake apps. These apps if installed, do not show any abnormal behavior, but they surely spread infection, malware, ransomware and exploit system vulnerabilities to steal data or take control of the device.
Fraudsters take advantage of the fact that users do not pay much attention to apps available on Google Play. They blindly trust the apps and due to this what they do is they disguise that app in such a manner that it is hard to differentiate between the original and doppelganger app. Tricksters set application name bogusly and display high number of app download to gain user trust. Besides, fake developers use key phrases to try and boost credibility. Some even include a verified symbol.
Note: Google Play does not provide any option to verify developer account so any application with that badge should not be trusted.
Recently, hundreds of fake apps posing as legitimate were detected in Google Play. We cannot overlook this issue as we may be one of the victim if we overlook these warnings. Therefore, we need to take some action and should know how to detect a fake app.
Nervous after knowing all this. Don’t be! Using these strategies you can protect yourself from being fooled.
Also Read : How To Protect Android From Malware
How to Spot a Fake Android App
1. Always look for genuine number of installations. You can find it under “Additional Information”.
2. Google Play does not have any blue “verified” check mark. It only has “Editor’s Choice”, badge that can be found at the top right corner of the application’s page on Google Play. So, if you see any blue “verified” check mark you know the app is fake.
3. Read user reviews before downloading an app. Also, if the app has been downloaded by a genuine user in most cases he posts a comment to warn others.
4. If you see a new app added recently, wait for others to download and post comments. Don’t trust any Android app or Android app developer blindly.
5. Don’t trust all the apps you see on Google Play. Always keep an eye of suspicion if you see similar looking apps, check them thoroughly before downloading.
6. Look for an app on Google Play Store rather than searching using a search engine. This will help you to see if there are any apps with identical name or icon.
Note: Fake apps have no functionality or just display advertisements.
7. Always take a look at search results, if you see similar results avoid downloading the app.
8. Check app name and developer details, if you see name like, Designer, Superman or other it clearly states that the developer isn’t genuine. Also, you can click on the developer name on Play Store to see if there are any more apps uploaded by the developer, to check his credibility.
9. Always read app description and look for screenshots, if anything looks wrong like incorrect English, blurred screenshot, then avoid downloading Android application.
What to Do if you Spot a Fake Android App?
If you happen to spot a fake Android app, then the first thing you should do is report it to Google.
Let Google know about. For this scroll to the bottom of the page, tap on “Flag as Inappropriate.”
This will open a Google’s help page here you need to click on “report inappropriate developer reply form” link, and fill the form.
If you are doing this via a smartphone as soon as you click on Flag as Inappropriate, you will be asked to choose a reason you can select “Copycat or Impersonation” option.
Tap submit, and Google will get the report.
Now that you have shared the information with Google to make others aware you can post the information of social networking sites to raise awareness. This will make Google know about it more quickly and they will be able to respond in a fast manner.
This article will help you spot fake apps and it makes one thing clear, tricksters are able to fool us when we don’t pay attention to things. If we keep a check on all the pointers then they won’t be able to fool us and make us download a fake app. Users need to be aware of the right ways to keep a check on what is real and fake. They should know what all security measures Google offer and what they don’t.