Most of us spend most of our days inside apps of one type or another, and if you’re looking for a new one, there’s no shortage: You’ll find around 1.6 million of them in the iOS App Store alone, for example, which is enough to last several lifetimes. Now, while the majority of these apps are perfectly benign and helpful, that’s sadly not the case for all of them.
In this month alone, close to 200 malware-harboring Android apps were spotted, accounting for some 30 million installations. While app stores from Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others offer a lot of protection against malicious apps, they’re not infallible guardians, and you may be sourcing some of your apps from the wider web—especially on desktop.
Apps that you shouldn’t trust run the whole gamut from those actively trying to get access to your bank accounts, to those tracking your location a bit more often that you’d ideally like. There are ways to protect yourself though—and we’ve outlined some of the warning signs to look out for below.
This isn’t an exact science, and there’s no checklist you can go through to say that an app is definitively trustworthy or untrustworthy. However, there are clues to look out for, which might just be enough to point you away from an app you shouldn’t be dealing with, and keep your devices well protected.