How to detect fraudulent applications on Android

fraudulent applications on Android

Every time there is a big release, the fake applications appear. It happened with WhatsApp, the rental application, Super Mario Run , Pokémon Go , Apex Legends and many more. The problem is how to detect that an app is fraudulent.

In this article we will tell you six clues that you can use to determine if an app is possibly a scam, has malware or simply is not who it claims to be. If possible, before installing it, when the damage would have been done.

Not on Google Play

WhatsApp Gold, besides being a bulo, said that you could only download it from your APK

Google Play has its own protection systems against potentially harmful applications. It is true that Google’s approach to it focuses more on malware than bad apps, but at least it serves as a first filter that eliminates the most harmful apps.

To avoid Google Play controls, they are usually distributed using APK

As a result, many of these fake applications are not available on Google Play, but must be downloaded as an APK using different reasons such as being a beta or that Google’s policy prevents them from distributing it on Google Play.

It’s true that fraudulent applications sneak into Google Play from time to time, but you’re less likely to be harmful apps. When an application is not available in the official Google store, it is a good reason to suspect.

The name or logo is a copy of another app

Fraudulent applications are classified mainly into two types: those that pretend to be other applications and those that do not, but promise incredible things. This first case is easy to discover as long as you look closely at what you are installing.

If instead of installing WhatsApp you are installing Guassap, What’s Up or any other variation of the same, most likely it is a scam to a lesser or greater extent. In the best case it will be a mediocre app from a developer who has not eaten much of his head when naming his app. In any case, it’s not something you want to install on your mobile.

Copying and impersonating other apps is very common in fraudulent apps, as they take advantage of the fact that an application or game is not available even on Android to fill the gap of desperate users who seek it and believe they have found it.

As a general rule, if a developer has the few scruples to copy to another application, probably also have them to make money at your expense by showing advertising or deceiving you in any way possible, which reached the number 1 on Google Play.

fraudulent applications on Android

It occupies too little for what it is

A good sign that you can check before installing an application is to look at the size of your APK. For example, if you just downloaded APEX Legends for Android – which does not exist, for now – and the APK occupies 10 MBwhile the full game is around 30 GB, it is not very normal.

If the APK takes too little to be true, it probably is not.

Of course, in these cases is usually played with the concept that it is not the complete game, but a launcher that downloads, although this is not valid in all cases. For example, it does not make sense if it is an application and not a game.

There is no fixed rule about how much an application normally occupies, but the truth is that the vast majority of applications actually exceed 10 MB, reaching 100 MB or more when they are especially complex. In some cases the reverse can happen: that an application occupies too much for what it is.

It’s too good to be true

Fraudulent applications need to trick you into using them so that, if they do not pretend to be other applications, what they pretend is their usefulness. It is increasingly difficult to highlight in an application market with billions of applications, so some of these fraudulent applications promise the impossible.

With a walk through Google Play you will find applications that promise to charge the phone with Reiki energy, which charge the phone by solar energy or increase the Wi-Fi signal as if by magic. It really is not magic, it’s a lie.

The difference between joke apps and fake apps is increasingly blurred

Although for legal reasons, most of these applications specify in Google Play that are a joke, it is nothing but a hoax with the intention that you do not read the full text and believe it.

Once again, if the developer has the few scruples to try to trick you into installing an app that is useless, surely do not hesitate to include the most murky monetization SDK at your fingertips, those that occasionally jump to the fore for topics such as advertising fraud.

He asks you for permits that do not make sense

Some applications need few permissions to work, others need more. There is no exact figure that tells us where to put the limit between normal permits and those that are not, but depends in each case on the application and what it is for.

Generally, applications that interact at a higher level with the system, need many permissions, and this also applies to some games that come out of the usual, such as Pokémon Go, which uses the camera and GPS. Although we give permission to Android and have almost become accustomed to banging the Accept without thinking, that’s just what you should do: think the permissions make sense.

Location permissions, SMS, calls, user accounts should make you alarm.

Not all the permissions are the same, and the ones that should make you miss the alarms are access to contacts, accounts, location and SMS and calls. So much so that Google has recently imposed restrictions on its use, but only apply if the app is installed from Google Play.

Another permission widely used by fraudulent applications, to spy on you, is to obtain the list of applications that are in operation, which in most cases is not justified unless you are testing an app like ActionDash.

They have advertising up

Unfortunately, this is the only section that you can only check after installing the application. As far as fraudulent applications are concerned, this is not optimal, since you could already be spying on you, but you know that better late than never.

Google bans applications that are filled to the top with advertising, but still sneaks a lot into your store and the ban does not apply to those that are installed outside of Google Play. While in some cases they are simply developers desperate to monetize the app, it is also a feature of fraudulent apps.

The cheating of fraudulent apps usually does not last long, because the user soon realizes that he does not get what he promised after trying it. Therefore, it is common for this type of apps to be inflated with advertising to maximize profits before the user leaves and never returns.

In summary, although not all highly publicized apps are fraudulent, most fraudulent apps have a lot of publicity. In any case, neither are something that you want to have on your mobile.