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The Google Playstore verification is generally perceived by many phone users to be the best reason to fully trust any app without vetting its credentials. However, the recent incidents show that even the apps verified by Google play store could contain malware and other viruses. It raises a question- Is Google Playstore safe? In this blog we’re going to present unbiased and detailed information on the same:
Some Disturbing Data
The BankBot Android banking Trojan has already infected at least 132 apps in the Google PlayStore and it can quickly steal the most sensitive information from diverse aps icluding the top names like WhatsApp and Facebook.
During July this year people downloaded as many as 32 million harmful apps from Google Playstore
35 so-called security apps in Google Playstore are fake and used to collect the vital data like bank account information and other details
Don’t download any app just because it is Google Play store verified
It isn’t a wise thing to download an app just because it is verified by Google and available on its play store. Even Google itself does not say that every single app residing on its play store is 100% safe. Just like any other place on the internet there are heroes and villains in the play store and you need to be very cautious so that you should not end up downloading a malicious villain app than steals and misuses your data.
Google Play store has less strict entry barriers
One of the major aims of Google is to promote and accommodate diversity and that is why the Google Play Store does not follow the overtly strict barriers while permitting different apps in its play store. In contrast, the Apple Store or Windows Phones have much more stringent entry barriers. The Google’s intention is to promote diversity and making it easier even for the small-time app developers to earn decent revenue through their apps. However, a serious side effect is that the malicious players can (and do) take the undue advantage of this leniency to corrupt your phone with their malware. This lack of strict barriers makes Google play store a favorite playground for smart hackers and malicious actors.
Star rating of Google could be misleading
Google allows users to check the star rating of various apps. However, many times these ratings confuse instead of helping the users. For instance you might find it extremely difficult to make the right choice when going through the jumbled series of 1 star (worst) and 5 stars (best) ratings given to the same apps. Besides, many users might give a rating depending on their personal experience during a specific condition. If an app helped them during the crucial moment they would just rate it five stars (even if the real performance is just average) and if the app doesn’t help them during the moment they need it the most (like maps not working properly due to the low connectivity while a person is lost in the new city during the night) they would just give it 1 star along with the most degrading review- even if there are some excellent user-friendly features in that app. So it can be confusing or even risky to download an app just based on the star rating.
Here is one strong possibility- just like the negative SEO against the competitor is focused on creating a negative environment to thwart the business of the competitor the same thing is possible with the apps as well. Along with the other development strategies some cunning app developers might start bombarding the Google play store with poor rankings against their rival company to discourage that the worst rating should feature at the top and alert the users thus stopping them from downloading that app.
App producers can play tricks to get 4-5 star rating
It is also possible for the app producers to fully root out the possibility of poor reviews even if when they are justified. For instance, some apps might work find when you give them a 4-5 star rating but if you would try to give them 1-3 ratings, they would force you to leave a review instead of allowing you to give a star rating. It simply means that when you would see the rating of such apps you would not find the good or excellent rating but such reviews can be misleading.
Some apps might draw out your sensitive information
Many times even the innocuous-looking apps like gaming apps would compel you to download a specific program or buy the specific deals by making it a conditions to complete these actions for proceeding ahead. Going a step further they would save this trick till the climax to increase the success rate. For instance, when you are just about to eliminate the last hurdle in your time-bound racing game and a message pop-ups asking you to download the program before moving ahead, it is more likely that the real gaming enthusiasts would quickly click the downloading button and proceed with their game. This could be an excellent way for malicious actors to download malware on your mobile.
Google Play store is certainly a better place to download the apps when compared with downloading it from third-party platforms (like browsers etc.). However, the instances show that even Google certified apps might contain malware. So it is highly imperative to thoroughly vet the credibility of the apps even if they are certified by the Google play store