Using apps on your smartphone is no longer a simple 'plug and play' task. With the rise of increasingly advanced and sophisticated cyber crime, it's incredibly easy to come across a counterfeit app that may attempt to steal your data, lock your phone and ask for ransom, or breach your privacy in one way or another. If you have been facing such concerns of late, it's essential that you're sure about the safety of that apps you're using. Here's what you can do to check.

Explore the app maker’s details

The first and foremost step for you is to read up on the developer that made the particular app. Be it the Google Play Store on an Android device, or the App Store on an Apple iPhone, reading up on the developer is often a good way to identify scams. A trustworthy application should ideally be from a developer that already has published previous apps, has a strong rating across all applications, and a few negative reviews. Legit developers also have a concrete website, all of which should be part of your mandatory checks before you download an app.

Monitor permissions

As you install an app, take a good look at the permissions it asks for. Many applications nowadays ask for added permissions in the pretext of social media integration — avoid that entirely. For instance, there is no reason why a crossword app should require permission to read your messages. Disable as many permissions as you can, and if an app asks for too many, uninstall it.

Check battery and data consumption

If an app is trying to download malware on your phone, or stealing your data, such activities should be reflected in your phone’s battery and data consumption. If you get prompts such as x app is consuming too much battery, it’s time to dig deeper. Scan your settings to find out how much data it has consumed, and if anything feels unnatural, force stop the app, clear your phone memory, uninstall the app and clear all installed files.

Be aware of ads

Ads can be more harmful than they look like. While many applications push ads to earn revenue, some do this a bit more than what is ideally warranted. Even if an application isn’t directly harmful, ads sent through an app can also steal your personal data. If any app tends to do so, remove it immediately.

An app for an app

If you are not an advanced user, you also get apps from cybersecurity companies to help you out. These apps do not ask for any specific permission, but simply scans your installed applications and gives you a readout of which app is asking for undue permissions. This might seem trivial, but it goes a very long way in helping you get rid of suspicious, malicious apps.

Image courtesy: Shutterstock