App safety is an important discussion that’s rarely had. Smartphones and tablets are just as prone to viruses as any computer would be. While mobile devices generally deal with a lot less downloads and data transfer than a computer, the app downloads and transmissions still deserve to be treated with the same kinds of safety concerns. Never assume your phone is impervious – there’s no such thing as being too careful.
Start With a Secure Connection
First and foremost, no download is secure if your connection is not. Most people keep the WiFi setting on, and it’s natural to turn to WiFi in order to save on costly data fees. This becomes an issue when your phone picks up on pubic WiFi, using an open connection for an app download.
Anything you do over an open WiFi connection can be intercepted by a hacker – including inputting your financial information to purchase an app. You can use a site like Secure Thoughts to find a VPN for your phone. VPNs shield your activity from malicious entities who are looking to steal your info.
Read App Reviews Before You Download
If people have complaints about an app, they’re going to leave a negative review in the App Store or Play Store. Some people down-rate an app simply because they don’t like it – maybe the game was too hard, or it was designed to run on an updated operating system or newer phone.
Pay attention to reviews left by people using a similar device. If there are no reviews at all, it may be best to wait a while. If the app isn’t even listed in the App Store or Play Store, it may be best to avoid that app altogether – you have no way of knowing whether or not it’s trustworthy.
Make Sure You Understand How Purchases Work
Are you paying a onetime fee to purchase the app, or is there a monthly subscription fees? These kinds of fees are common with apps that provide a service. You may be billed for using the app. Some of the features may not be free, and if you want the full version of the app, it might wind up costing you more. If there are in-app purchases that you’re interested in, don’t save your billing information in your phone. This reduces the chances of your information being intercepted if your phone is stolen, and it also prevents accidental purchases from being made.
Scan and Update Regularly
Make sure you haven’t disabled your phone’s nightly security scan. Almost every kind of phone runs one, and some may request your permission. When an app needs to be updated, this is because it’s been improved. If the developers have discovered any bugs or vulnerabilities, an update will be released to fix those issues. Update before these small quirks become a real problem for you. If your app is out of date, it may be a security risk that you’ll need to take seriously.
It’s not as hard as it may seem to keep your phone secure. Remember that every download is a download, whether or not it’s an app. When you get in the habit of proper downloading practices, everything you do with your phone will be a little bit safer.