4 Warning Signs an App is Dangerous and How You Can Stay Safe

If you ever feel suspicious about an Android app, it’s better to be safe than sorry and not download it. Here are some of the warning signs you should be looking out for.

4 Warning Signs an App is Dangerous and How You Can Stay Safe

It seems like there is an app for everything, and often more than one option. Sadly though, some people have decided to take a malicious advantage of our widespread use of apps. Anytime you want to download a new app but believe it could be dangerous, keep an eye out for these warning signs.

While apps in the Apple App Store are all individually approved, the same is not true for the Google Play Store. This means that there is a greater danger of encountering malware if you are an Android user.


Read the reviews

Don’t just look at the app’s overall rating, but take the time to actually read through the reviews. See what other users are saying and if they’ve found anything suspicious about the app, such as their data usage or phone bill increasing significantly after downloading the app.

Always read reviews on the Google Play Store

Read the app’s description

When you read through the app’s description, look out for a lack of professionalism. If there are a lot of spelling mistakes and grammar errors, this is another warning sign that you might be looking at a dangerous app.

Look into the app’s developer

Apps developed by an organisation you know and trust are more likely to be safe to install on your phone. Click on the name of the developer (displayed near the app’s name in the Play Store) to find out more about them. You can then see what other apps they’re responsible for and detect if there is anything suspicious about them. You can also do an internet search of their name to see what comes up. If a developer seems untrustworthy, stay away from their apps.

Look at the permissions required by the app

If the app asks for a lot of permissions (especially ones that don’t make sense) it is another sure sign of possible malware. For example, you should be wary if an app that is supposed to do something simple, like change your wallpaper, asks for access to your messages and contacts.

Look at the permissions an app needs

Tips to stay safe

1. Stick to the Play Store

Although Google doesn’t have the same approval process as Apple, they do scan all apps in the Play Store for malware and can therefore provide you with some peace of mind. An app you have already downloaded that is later found to be malicious can also be remotely removed. If Android warns you about an app, you should remove it right away.

The Android OS also allows you to sideload apps from outside the Google Play Store. Any apps not from the Play Store won’t be scanned in the same way and are therefore more likely to be dangerous.

As a general rule, we suggest sticking to apps from the Google Play Store. Whether you’re getting your apps from the Play Store or not, these are the signs you should look out for when spotting dangerous apps.

2. Use Zscaler to assess the app

Developed by ThreatLabZ, Zscaler Application Profiler is a free online tool you can use to get more information about an app. Go to the Zscaler web site and type in the name of the app you are concerned could be dangerous to search for results. If nothing comes up, you can also paste in the Play Store address of the app.

Zscaler provides you with detailed information about an app

Zscaler will give you a whole lot of information that will give you a better idea of whether you can trust the app, including:

  • Whether or not data and passwords on the app are properly encrypted
  • Whether or not the app leaks your metadata (data that allows your device to be identified)
  • If the app shares personal data (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.) with a third party
  • If the app tracks your usage

3. Run antivirus software on your Android device

If you have installed antivirus software on your phone, like Security Warrior, it should warn you about any malicious software and allow you to safely get rid of it.


Security Warrior Antivirus kees you safe!


Using a combination of the advice we’ve given above should allow you to steer clear of dangerous apps on your Android phone.  It comes down to common sense above all and If an app seems suspicious, don’t install it.