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How to Avoid Scammy Android Apps

Bobby Travis

Bobby Travis

This is a post by Bobby Travis, who wrote with me at 40Tech from 2009 through 2012. Bobby has since moved on to bigger and better things, but I've left all of his great contributions up on the site. - Evan
Bobby Travis

How to Avoid Scammy Android Apps | 40Tech

The beautiful thing about Android OS, over iOS,  is the open platform. The annoying (and potentially dangerous) thing about Android OS, over iOS, is… wait for it… the open platform. It’s a double-edged sword. Say what you want about Apple’s proprietary madness, but the likelihood of a scam or malware app making it through to the iOS App Store is pretty slim — at least in comparison to Google’s Android Market. Does this mean you should never buy Android and jump headfirst into Apple products? By no means! According to the learned fellows over at Tested.com, with a little common sense, some permissions checking, and a dose of healthy skepticism, you can avoid the sneaky apps. Here are the main points:

Check the user reviews on Android Market. Go deeper than the first page. Read them — if there are a ton of positive reviews and they have the same sort of feel to them (like they were written by the same person, for instance), there is probably something up. If there are a ton of negative reviews, there is probably a reason — no matter who wrote them.

View the other apps submitted to the Market by the developer. If there are a string of oddities and things that make you raise a brow or two, you might want to avoid the app you are researching.

Check the developer’s website and support site. If the sites leave you feeling uneasy or that the developer lacks professionalism, you may wish to think twice before purchasing anything by them.

Check the app permissions. This is the big one. If an app has the ability to modify/delete SD card contents, to send a text message or MMS, or to access the internet all willy-nilly and you don’t know why, treat it in the same way you would a Windows application that is trying to do things that don’t make sense: don’t install/remove it, research it, and find out exactly what it’s doing. If the developer isn’t completely clear and forthcoming, get rid of it.

You can research permissions before you install an app by going to the app’s Market page and selecting menu, then security. Once an app is installed, check the permissions in Manage Application Settings.

There are more details of what you can look for via the link below.

How do you keep yourself safe from malware apps and scams on the Android Market?

How to Spot Scams and Malware Apps on Android [Tested]