Detecting Dangerous Apps in Google Play

Detecting Dangerous Apps in Google Play

While Google Play claims that its security algorithms detect and block 99% of malware, the entire process is highly automated. Because of this, the internet is full of warnings that fake apps, spyware and other unsafe programs have been found on the digital store. 


 When downloading from Google Play, it is therefore critical to consider the following three factors:

  1. Publication date and number of downloads

If a user is looking for tax or fine payment software created in cooperation with the government, it is extremely unlikely that it will have been published only two weeks ago and downloaded just a few times (except for a newly-announced service). 

  1. Program developer

If you are looking for a mobile service performing a public function, the designated authority should be listed among its developers. Therefore, if you see a little-known company named as the app developer, this is probably a fake app that should never be installed. 

  1. In-app purchases

When a program has in-app purchases, the description should state this. If you find a tax guide, but it contains in-app purchases (except for paying taxes), then the app is most likely malicious.


For apps that satisfy all of the above criteria, you should next pay attention to access rights requested during download. If a program that must act as a reference book requires access to media files, do not grant it and remove the app right away. Also, if the program can work autonomously, but suddenly requires permission to run in the background, this should also be seen as a warning sign. 

Yet another important line of defense is use of an automatically updated antivirus, which will scan all apps for known cyber threats.

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