Fake android apps are on the rise on Google play store and they pose a problem to many users on the internet. People try to create designs or icons that resembles the actual apps or popular ones, thereby tricking you to download it after which they bombard you with ads and malware.
This is one of the many issues that are prominent. A fake version of WhatsApp was downloaded by more than one million people last year, and just this month, Reddit android community found a fake version of the popular SwiftKey keyboard and an ad-riddled version of VLC on the Play Store.
These apps are not something you take likely with because they pose problems which you may not know. Examples of such problems includes; stealing all your personal records and even monitoring your moves and many more.
But is Google actually doing something to address this issue? Yes, I will say Google has introduced Google play protect to help minimize the effects of this apps. A security system that help to verify apps in the play store.
It scans apps upon entry into Google Play. Google also says it removed over 700,000 malicious apps last year. But, as we’ve already noted, there are still some big ones getting through.
Play Protect was announced less than a year ago, so it’s still a relatively new system. As with most, there will be bumps along the way—we’re just hoping Google uses this system to figure out a better way to control malicious content in its official app store.
How to spot these fake apps:
Ways in which you can identify this fake apps are enumerated below.
Take a close look at the search results: If you search the Play Store for the app you want to install, take a few seconds to glance at all the entries—especially if you see the same icon more than once.
Fake apps will almost always use the icon from the app they’re trying to mimic, so it should immediately cause suspicion if you see the same icon more than once. This is the first way fake apps trick people into installing them. If the icons are the same, turn to the names.
Check the app name and developer:
Take a close look at the app name and the developer. There are cases where the name of the developer might look same but you should look at the app name. Some may add update with its name like the case of the fake watsapp that has update attached to its name.
The fake SwiftKey app that recently landed was called “Swift Keyboard”—something that users unfamiliar with SwiftKey could easily mistake for the real application. But the developer name was “Designer Superman”—a clear indicator that something isn’t right since SwiftKey is developed by a company of the same name and owned by Microsoft.
If after checking the app name and the developer name and still could not spot weather it is fake or not, then
Check the download count:
Always pay attention to the number of times a particular app is been downloaded. Some popular app like Facebook app for example has billions of downloads and installs,
But what if the listing (other apps) you’re looking at only has, say 5,000? It’s probably the wrong listing. There’s not much of a chance a fake app will last in the Store long enough to get that many downloads, so it’s an easy way to spot a fraud, assuming you’re looking at a popular app.
But what if the apps you are looking for is not that popular like Facebook, then this way of identifying a fraudulent app is not recommended for use.
Read the description and look at the screenshots:
The functions of the app should be clearly stated. If not, then it should raise the red flag. Good communication by the developers and stating clearly what the app can do with clear formatting also tell the authenticity of the app. Another thing you should take note of is the images been used.
For example, look at the fake SwiftKey we’ve talked about several times already: The images look pretty good, but “typing like flying swift”? What the hell does that even mean?
Finally, read reviews:
Definitely you will see some fake reviews of most fake apps, but some genuine ones will always show you the green light. Look for negative reviews and see what the problem is with such apps.
With all these points listed, I believe you can try to review apps in Google store before downloading it to avoid the consequences that comes with it. Please do share