Everyone owns a smartphone or a computer nowadays. We have become so accustomed to using them, that they have become a part and parcel of our lives. They allow us to connect with the world at the touch of a button.
Having a mobile phone or a computer gives us access to various functionalities which we can use for our benefits. These functionalities aren’t inbuilt in the device itself but are provided through sources known as applications or simply known as apps.
Take for an instance a mobile phone. Your own mobile phone might have tens of different apps installed which assist you in different tasks throughout your day. It can something as simple as waking you up in the morning to somethings complex such as finding the square of pi to the tenth decimal place.
Apps are present to make our lives easier. And since they form such an important part of our mobile ecosystem, phone developers tend to deploy their own native app stores in order to publish apps from various developers.
By having an app store, you get access to hundreds of thousands of different apps at a single place. You just need to type the name of the app or the functionality you are looking for and the store displays the top ranking apps in that category.
But you might be thinking as to whether it is safe to install apps from unknown developers. Well to ease users about this problem, app stores such as the Google Play Store have in built security checks as well as monitoring team which checks each and every app that is published in their store for security vulnerabilities and only those who pass these rigorous checks are allowed to be published.
This ensures that the privacy and safety of the users installing these apps is prioritised and users get a safe browsing session while using these apps. However it is certainly possible for some users to bypass the app store and directly download and install an application from the Internet.
In fact there’s even an option available in many mobile phones labelled ‘Allow Installation from Unknown Sources’. Upon clicking on this option you allow your phone to give permission to install an application from a source other than the official app store. And in a computer you can directly install an application downloaded from the Internet by tweaking some things in the Settings menu.
However it is generally said to never follow this practice and to always download applications from their official sources. Lets take a look as to why. When you download an application from the official source, you are given a guarantee of the apps’ security checks as well transparency with respect to how your data is being used.
This gives you a fair idea as to what you are getting in to and allows you to make a conscious decision. However when you choose to download apps from unofficial sources you tend to put yourself at risk. This is because there is no assurance as to whether the application you are downloading is truly safe or not.
People with malicious intentions are always on the lookout for preys to catch in their trap. They can embed malicious code in to the app and there’s a possibility that when you download and install it your device will get injected with malware.
They can then steal all your data, corrupt your files or install ransomware. People usually fall in to such traps when they try to download modded versions of their favorite apps when don’t want to pay for the premium version. By enticing people with these premium features for free, hackers are then able to get access to their devices and then exploit them for their monetary gain.
They can get access to your contact list, your email addresses and passwords, your photos and videos stored in your gallery as well as your files stored in your local storage. And all of this happened because somebody wanted to save a couple of bucks.Also developers depend on the income generated from these premium features on their apps for their livelihood.
By installing such modded versions of their apps, you are denying them their well deserved money and in the process killing their desire to make any further developments on the application as they gain no benefit from it. It is important for us as users to support the developers in order to encourage them to keep on working towards the betterment of the app.
However sometimes it is inevitable for you to avoid installing an app from a third party source. Here are some things that you should keep in mind when installing apps from unknow sources.
- Check if there is any alternative to the app that you want to install on the official app store. With the vast selection that it offers, there is bound to be at least one app which matches your needs.
- Make sure to turn off the Unknown Sources option after installing an app from a third party. This is to ensure that no other injectable is installed on you phone from the app that you recently installed.
- Be sure to scan the apk that you have downloaded with a security software in order to ensure that there is no hidden malware in it.
With the rise of mobile users, hackers are coming up with many innovative ways in order to entrap people. An attack can be launched from any direction and applications are just one way in. Therefore you should be complacent about your privacy and take every possible step in order to protect it. Such small steps go a long way from deterring any possible attacks in the future.
In this article we helped shed some light on to the importance of installing apps from only official sources. We hope that you were able to extract some information from it and will now take active steps to follow these guidelines.