The internet revolutionized how we communicate. And the entry of mobile devices changed the scene. Apps for mobile devices allow us to do things like mobile banking, online shopping, etc. There are free and paid apps. That both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of free apps
- No cost
- More flexibility
No cost: Most apps must pay an initial payment, but free apps cost nothing.
More flexibility: Apps allow you to perform tasks on the go and at any time you please.
Dangers of free mobile apps
As much as free mobile apps are convenient, they pose many dangers, such as:
- Hidden malware
- Low Quality
- Data collection
Low Quality: Apps cost money to build and granted, and free apps are usually of inferior quality. The app does not have all the features a paid app might have.
Data collection: Since the apps are free, their developers have to justify their existence. And make profits by collecting their users’ data and selling it to third parties for a profit. Once you install these free apps on your computer or mobile device. The apps check your online activity and then sell it to third parties.
These companies are mostly advertisement companies. That use this information to bring you customized ads. According to a survey finding by Juniper Networks. Free mobile apps pose severe privacy threats because they can capture vast user data.
Free mobile apps have a 401% chance of tracking user location. And have a 314% higher chance of accessing their users’ address books than an app they have paid for in advance. Most apps in the study already had permission to access the internet. That was in itself a means for data leaking from your device.
An analysis of the millions of apps in the Android market revealed that most apps get personal information from users. Or perform some functions that are not necessary for the app’s function. Free VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are among the risks you should avoid. Most free VPN service providers sell your data to third parties. Consider using a VPN app with a paid subscription, where you assured of privacy and security.
How to stay protected
- Manage app permission
- Read the terms of the agreement
- Install antivirus and antimalware
- Avoid third-party apps
- Choose a paid alternative
Manage app permission: Always check what permissions you give apps. Check if it makes sense for the app to ask for those permissions. Apps asking to access data that is not relevant to its core function.
Read the terms of the agreement: Most people do not read the terms of the agreement before accepting them. These agreements usually hold hidden terms that permit apps to collect data.
Install antivirus and antimalware: Install an antivirus and antimalware to block viruses. And malware from infecting your computer.
Avoid third-party apps: Ensure you only download apps from the legal developer. And third-party apps that steal your data and send you annoying ads.
Choose a paid alternative: For the reasons mentioned above, choose a paid alternative app. That offers you more features and spares you adware, malware, and viruses.
Apps go a long way in helping users to perform tasks faster and more. Using free apps exposes you to many dangers such as malware, viruses, and adware. Taking precautions will go a long way in helping you thwart all these threats.