Many application developers bombard users with unwanted pop-ups and steal e-mail addresses for targeted advertising. However, the effects of unethical online advertising and application management may be much deeper. Users need to fully verify all applications they install or download to avoid the effects of bad apps and advertising scams, ESET says.
ESET scientist Nick FitzGerald says: "At the end of last year, fake fitness surveillance apps scared multiple users into losing money through a payment mechanism that was linked to credit and debit cards for users connected to Apple's accounts.
"This would mean that consumers should install and download applications and features online with the utmost caution."
"By downloading bogus applications, it is possible to open users' devices and then network to a number of dangerous consequences, including data corruption and bank account depletion."
ESET recommends five ways for users to validate online applications and improve application ecosystems:
1. Keep in mind that reviews can be misleading. Many conscientious iOS and Android users are reviewing Apple App Store or Google Play before downloading apps. While some reviews can often indicate the quality of the app, some reviews may be too old to rely on, or even deliberately send, fraudulent application developers themselves to deceive potential customers.
When reviewing reviews, consumers should see that the comments are recent and omit apps with vague or absurd language reviews or a few repetitive comments. Look for comments that belong to profiles with similar usernames or profiles that seem untrue and untrue. It is good to move the evaluation options to get a more balanced picture and look at the most critical reviews.
2. Be patient. It is advisable to avoid having to quickly purchase or download the application once it is released. Users should take a few days to wait until the reviews develop and explore what other users say. As for safety, patience is key.
3. Be aware of a valid feature. Users should learn to what extent their devices work to better detect fraud that requires certain identification methods. For example, fitness tracking applications will never be able to use fingerprint scanning to access user calories or nutrition data, so the application that requires fingerprint scanning for this purpose is likely to be fake.
Similarly, if an application requests downloads or permissions that they simply do not have to do their job, ESET recommends that users avoid it. Flash applications do not require e-mail addresses or user phone numbers to do their job, nor do games that can be downloaded the most.
4. Jump deeper. There are a number of ways users can find evidence that the application may not be trusted. ESET recommends users to search for app developer names and search for all past apps they have uploaded, and search for historical reviews or articles that could reveal important information.
Google users can also name the developer next to the word "scam" to get more specific results.
5. Change. If users are unhappy that they downloaded an untrusted app, they should act immediately. Users can contact the App Store or their financial institutions and request a refund.
Users can also report fraudulent apps to the App Store or Google Play and have critical reviews of the app developer's content. This can help other users avoid the same mistakes, and hopefully we're working to keep tiny applications in the bay.