“Malware – Malicious Apps in Annapolis”
I have heard much about malware, malicious apps being secretly installed on my devices. Is it safe for me to assume that if I download an app from the App Store, onto my iPhone, the app is safe to use? I say no, that’s not a safe assumption. My husband says it’s fine, and that Apple (or Google Play for that matter) wouldn’t allow unsafe apps into their app stores. Who is right?
Mallory in Annapolis
You know what they say about people who assume… They make an, uh, you know the rest. 😆. Malicious apps secretly installed on your devices is a very real concern, and one can be easily fooled into installing.
Your husband is right. Neither Apple nor Google Play would intentionally allow unsafe apps into their app stores. (Can we still be friends? I’m guessing that was not the answer you were looking for.)
Fear not, Mal, you are right too. Yes, that’s right, you are both correct. Of course, neither of those would intentionally allow apps with embedded malware into their app stores. But the keyword here is intentionally. It does happen.
So, what is malware?
This is the name given for malicious software. Sometimes referred to as spyware. According to the FTC, “Malicious apps are a type of malware, which are viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other unwanted software, that gets secretly installed on your device” (FTC). Feb 15, 2022.
If I had to guess, you have said, or at least heard often, that Macs (and iPhones) can’t get viruses. WRONG! Of course they can, and if you download a malicious app, you’ll likely find out the hard way. So, be sure to watch out for some key indicators of “good apps” versus potentially “bad apps”:
- don’t assume the app is ‘safe’ just because it’s in the app store.
- check the star rating and reviews of the app.
- how many users does the app have? It should have thousands. If it only has hundreds, be skeptical.
If you or your beloved would like to read up a bit more about this, check out this article from wired.com, or take a look at our video on how to find and fix log4J. We’ve also created a learning path full of information.
Have you been zapped by malicious software? How did it happen, and how did you resolve it? Share your experiences, and add your questions or comments below. Thanks for writing in.
~ Making Cyber a Safer Space