Gadgets Magazine

5 Tips to Protect Your Smartphone From App Scams

Posted on the 26 April 2013 by Nrjperera @nrjperera

One of the most enjoyable parts of owning an iPhone (or other smartphone) is searching for exciting new apps and trying them out. But with so much mobile activity, the rise of apps has led to an equal rise in app scams, fake apps, and apps that try to ruin your phone or steal information. Here are five ways to avoid app problems through wise smartphone management.

[Image Credit: Jorge Quinteros - Flickr]

1. Carefully Review Apps Before Downloading

Apps are not all created equal. Some are high quality and some are junk. Some are perfect safe and others are dangerous scams. Research apps thoroughly before you buy them to ensure that they will not try to snatch sensitive information or use your contact lists for malicious purposes. A quick Google search of any app for reviews and warnings is often sufficient.

There is some disparity in app safety between platforms. Devices that have a rigorous app management process, like Apple or Windows phones, tend to be the safest, since only the safer apps can make it through. More open platforms like Android tend to be the most dangerous and require the most research before purchase.

2. Avoid Jailbreaking

Jailbreaking occurs when you use loopholes to avoid security on the stricter platforms, particular Apple’s iOS framework. This lets you download nearly any app that you want, but at the cost of removing valuable security measures from your phone. A jailbroken phone (or a “rooted” phone for Android users) is automatically a far greater security risk than the standard issue version. With today’s proliferation of apps, both good and dangerous, it is better to leave jailbreaking at the wayside and be content with your normal security settings – which happen to be there for a reason.

3. Even with Trusted Apps, Control Your Permissions

Permissions refer to what information you let an app access. Start up the app for the first time, and it will ask to link to a variety of different programs, from your contacts to your email and social networks. It can be tempting to speed by with rapid “yes” taps and start actually using the app, but savvy app users take a moment and control permissions. Do not let an app access any information that it does not absolutely need to, especially personal and contact information. Sometimes permissions can automatically slip by, so it is a good idea to bring up Settings every once and while and see if there are any apps that have access to location, Facebook info, or other data that they really do not need.

4. Use Only Real, Institution-based Finance Apps

Financial apps are an especially trick area of navigation for smartphone or tablet users. As a general rule of thumb, only use apps that come directly from the bank that you already hold accounts in. Do not use any apps that purport to be from other banks or offer services that require your account information. It can be far too easy to give a fake app your financial data unless you stick with online billing and account management software straight from your own bank. Well-known financial organizations, such as Intuit, also offer dependable financial apps.

5. Consider Some Mobile Security

Even taking great care, some nasty apps and software can scoot by and cause problems on your phone. If you download apps frequently and want the best protection, take some time to pick up a mobile security service and download that, too. Lookout Mobile Security, Snap Secure, BullGuard, and even McAfee WaveSecure all offer robust protection against the various kinds of malware and spyware that can leak onto mobile devices.

Aaron Mills is a blogger who writes on behalf of companies such as who provides Identity Theft services.

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