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Tips to avoid bad apps

Maliciously modified apps are increasingly targeting the smartphone consumer. Here are some tips to avoid such apps.

Mobile malware incidents are still relatively low in number, compared to the cases associated with PC or Laptop, however they exist and are increasingly growing in number. Given the fact that our phones contain a lot of personal info, it is important to stay protected. And for doing that you need to keep certain things in mind.

Here are five tips that McAfee, a software security company, has released, and we thought it would make sense for us to share these tips with you.

1. The first thing is to recognise that a threat exists and if affected you can be loosing a lot of personal information to people who have malicious intentions.

2. When you are about to download an app, research about the app and its publisher thoroughly and check the ratings. It is better to install apps that are broadly used in the market or are recommended by your circle of friends and colleagues.

3. It is wise to purchase from a well-known reputable app store market, such as the Android Market, Ovi Store, Blackberry World, iTunes store etc.

One way for Android users to avoid installation of non-market applications is to de-select the “Unknown sources” option in the Applications Settings menu on their device. If the option is not listed, it means your mobile service provider has already done this for the user.

4. Before installing an app, you’ll see a list of permissions for services that are granted access to the hardware and software components on your device, like contacts, camera and location. If something in the permissions screen doesn’t look right, don’t install that app.

For example, a game or alarm clock app probably shouldn’t need to access your contacts or have the ability to transmit that data from your device.

5. Install an antivirus software on your phone. It is a good idea to install an antivirus program when you get a new mobile device before you add any other apps.
There are several paid and free antivirus available in the operating system’s own application stores. You can choose to go paid if you store a lot of sensitive information on yours. If not, free anti virus will be sufficient.

According to a Gartner report, “17.7 billion mobile apps are estimated to be downloaded in 2011 (a 115% increase from 2010). By 2012, mobile apps are projected to generate more than $15 billion in app store revenues from end-users alone.

“As the application market continues to boom, users should be more cautious that they know what they’re installing,” said Lawrence Pingree, a Gartner analyst.

“For example, they should only install applications from trusted sources and ensure that permissions match up with the respective application’s core features. Anti-malware protection will also go a long way in helping to ensure the user’s mobile device has the latest protection.”

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