Google Play Store hosts the world’s most extensive library of apps and games for Android devices. With the ever-increasing volume of applications on the platform, it is becoming difficult to differentiate between real and fake apps. To make it easier for you to detect a fake app on the Play Store, I will outline five methods you can use to spot fake Android apps. To protect your device from potentially harmful threats that could sneak through fake apps, it is important to know whether you’re downloading from a reliable source. Failure to verify the Android app status before installing or updating it can expose your data and device to risks.
Discussion around Android security highlights the importance of trusting only those apps available on the Google Play Store because experts believe them to be more secure. Try to avoid using third-party app stores or websites as they contain apps and games from unverified sources, including the ones rejected by Google for its Play Store due to various security reasons.
However, keeping track of millions of apps is never easy. Moreover, determined actors manage to find a way around even the best security protocols to get their apps approved and placed on the Play Store.
Now and then, some fake apps land on the official app store. Malicious developers use copycats of famous apps such as WhatsApp to cash in on their popularity to save or earn money or collect user data. Therefore, from the point of view of security, you should be aware of how to identify fake apps on Google Play Store.
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Fake apps assault you with ads while collecting your data in the background.
Granting apps permission to access your device’s features allows them to exploit your privacy. It may not seem threatening at first, but that’s the whole point; perform data collection and monitoring tasks under the garb of pleasant interface and appealing features without you realizing it.
Taking security issues seriously, Google has improved Play Store security over the years.
That said, the possibility of negligence is ever-present, allowing dodgy apps to gain entry to your device. Never compromise your digital security.
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How To Find Fake Apps On Google Play Store:
Here are some precautions to ensure that the app is genuine and free from forgery and trickery. Follow these measures to find fake apps on Google Play Store.
Make Sure App Developer Is Authentic
The first sign of a reliable app is the credibility of its developer. Applications from reliable sources don’t undertake nefarious activities impinging upon the user’s trust.
Thousands of popular applications have numerous alternatives carrying the same name, making it harder to tell them apart from each other. WhatsApp Messenger, Facebook Messenger, and similar other highly rated apps have plenty of alternatives offering similar services. However, whether you can repose your trust in such apps is up to you.
For instance, Google’s SwiftKey keyboard is one of the most downloaded apps on the Play Store; it is officially named Swift Keyboard. Now, if you search its name, the result will bring up a list showing the original app and plenty of similar apps. One can easily pick the fake app over the original version.
See App Reviews
Reviews can help effectively gauge the app’s authenticity. A high bad rating coupled with a low 5-star rating count in the review section means that the app is fake or doesn’t perform as claimed by its developer.
Check Install Count
This check is pretty straightforward. Popular apps usually have a large download count. WhatsApp has been downloaded over 1 billion times on all Android smartphones across the globe. But if you see a similar app with an install count under 10,000, you may want to avoid it.
Apple Music is another app with many fake alternatives you should avoid. In short, the install count is a reasonable indicator of the app’s credibility. It is doubtful that apps with a high download count turn out to be fake.
Verify The Search Result
If your Google Play Store search result for a particular app returns a long list of apps, you know there is an increasing likelihood of fake apps hiding in the mix and waiting for you to inadvertently download them so that they can wreak havoc on your device. It is better to ensure that you download the official app from an approved developer.
Read The App Description
This is another easy way to ascertain the reliability of an Android app. The broken or bot-like English indicates that the app is not to be trusted, and its developers mainly deploy it as a tool to flood you with ads.
It is a given that established names in the app industry put into describing their product in a professional style.
How To Report A Fake App:
If you come across a fake app, you should immediately report it to Google. At the bottom of every page is a Report section where you can tap “Flag as inappropriate.” Next, choose your reason for flagging the app. For reporting a fake app, select Copycat or impersonation. Tap submit to inform Google about it.
Google has ramped up its efforts to protect the Play Store with enhanced security measures. It has already taken down close to a million fake apps. In the future, as algorithms improve, the search engine giant will be much better placed to identify counterfeit apps quickly. Meanwhile, you can follow the instructions above to protect your device from harmful applications.