There are all sorts of apps available on the internet. From fun games to helpful utilities, the sheer volume is sure to grab your attention. However, how can you make sure they’re safe?
Unsafe apps might download adware or malware onto your device, or secretly skim your information to sell to advertisers. No device is immune.
So, before you download an app that catches your eye, make sure you do these four important things:
1. Figure Out How It Makes Money
Most people create apps to make a profit. There’s a wide variety of ways to do this, and most are inconsequential. An app may charge a fee for downloads, offer in-app purchases to help you advance in a game, or offer both a free version (with ads) and a paid subscription. Some apps make money entirely with ads, which is fine but a little annoying at times.
However, if none of these revenue streams is obvious, try to delve deeper, and be a bit skeptical. You can read tech releases about the game or look into the listing for the app. Or you can simply ask, if you’re unsure. Beware of any developers that won’t give you that information.
2. Read Reviews
When you read reviews for an app, make sure you read a wide variety of them. And pay attention to where they’re posted. Obviously, a company is going to feature the best reviews on its website. Look deeper; search for reviews on third-party websites, or read the reviews on the app store where you want to purchase or download it.
When reading reviews, make sure you read both good and bad ones. Even if there are only a few bad reviews, it might give you some insight as to why some don’t like the app. Are there complaints about malware or ad tracking? Do people merely claim to not like the app’s design? The former is obviously something to be wary of before you download.
3. Be Careful with App Permissions
Operating systems are good about informing you when it comes to the permissions that an app is requesting. To give an app information about your location, for example, you have to verify that you’re okay with giving that information. You can make sure you’re giving apps the bare minimum of your information that they need to function.
You should also make sure you visit the permissions in your settings frequently. These permissions are what allow an app to collect certain types of information. If an app doesn’t need a specific type of information, it’s a good idea to revoke permissions. You can do this on all major operating systems, and you should check it every so often to make sure nothing’s been “updated” without your knowledge.
4. Research the Developers
The developers of an app are the people who get all the data that you allow the app to collect. If the app is shady, there’s little question that the developers know about it. See if you can check them out: Have they made other apps? What are the ratings on the company’s other apps? Is there any other information about them on the internet?
In your search for more information about the developers, PeopleFinders may be able to help. With PeopleFinders, all you need to get started is some information about the developers. See if you can get the name of a company CEO or the lead developer in charge of the app. Then, use that name to try and perform a people search or a criminal records search.
By going this route, you can attempt to learn more about the identity of these developers. Plus, if you are able to find that a developer or CEO has a criminal record, that’s a pretty clear sign that you should be more suspicious about what the app may be doing without your knowledge.
Apps are a part of everyday life; you probably have several on your phone right now. However, just because an app is interesting, that doesn’t mean an app is safe. You should always think about whether an app could potentially be misusing your data.
When you want to make sure you’re safe with the apps you download, one of your investigative routes should be PeopleFinders. Once you’ve reviewed the people in charge of your favorite apps, there’s plenty more you may find with PeopleFinders.
Image attribution: Production Perig – stock.adobe.com