There are huge numbers of apps available for your smart phone, with more appearing every day. Many are free, some start out as free but try to make you spend for an upgrade and some you have to pay for.
The quality of these apps is highly variable and the price may bear little no relation to the quality.
There are many very useful apps, lots of ones that are simply entertaining in some way, informative apps and so. But there are also bad apps – scam ones that promise something you want but fail to provide, ones that claim to be harmless but are Trojans and infect your device with malware or try to steal confidential information and some that are simply rubbish.
Why are these bad apps allowed?
When someone creates a new APP and uploads it to Android or APPLE, some checks are carried out but these are limited and the scam apps can get through or sometimes the original APP is harmless then updated by the author with added scam features. If you choose to download from a 3rd party site i.e. not from Google or APPLE then the chances of getting a bad app may be higher.
App Permissions on Android
When you install a new APP it asks for permission to access various features and data in your phone.
You should check these and see if they make sense. E.g. a photo APP will need access to your pictures on the phone.
Many apps ask to check your location – largely so they can tell where people are that are downloading their APP.
But do be careful – if you download for example a flashlight APP and find it asks for permission to access your pictures and movies and to make calls then do not continue. apps should only ask for permissions that make sense based on the nature of the APP.
These are apps that are ‘just for fun’ and don’t actually do anything useful. E.g. X-RAY scanning which is obviously not possible any more than the old X-RAY spectacles that used to be advertised in magazines and newspapers to let you see through anything.
There are Lie Detector apps that fall into this category by giving random lie/truth responses.
As you might expect there is one called ‘The Most Useless APP ever’ and it is just that but at least it’s free.
These are apps that claim to do something useful but do not. Sadly, some people pay for them and maybe never realise they have been conned e.g.
Battery Extenders or Chargers
These claim to extend the life of your battery or recharge it without plugging in to the mains. Once installed, these may suggest you shake, rattle, or otherwise do exercise with your phone and it will be magically recharged. Nope – not possible.
Memory Boosting apps
Many people’s phones run out of memory due to too many games or pictures or movies etc. stored on the phone or maybe there is very little memory to start with and a few installed apps use it all. The idea of magically extending the memory without actually buying more memory was tried on PCs in the nineties and software claiming to double your RAM became popular. However it never worked on PCs and it doesn’t work on smart phones.
There are people who create malicious apps – ones that try to steal confidential information or take over your phone. These can be in any guise but are most commonly apps that promise something fantastic e.g. easy money making.
Even anti-virus apps can be dangerous. Research by RiskIQ showed that out of 4,292 active antivirus apps, 525 were potentially malware. 525 of those were in the Google Play store and the remainder in third-party app stores. Be very careful of anything you download for your smart phone that isn’t from GOOGLE or APPLE and with anti-virus apps - pick one of the major makers not a little known company.
There are numerous anti-virus apps that are believed to have no effect such as ANG Anti-virus which seems intended to be a copy of AVG Anti-virus but doesn’t function.
Money Making Apps
These are almost always a scam. The promise of easy money is very attractive to many people and scammers make use of this. Always ask yourself how the supplier can make money from what they offer. If they want you to fill in a few surveys then how can they possibly make enough from your entries to make profit themselves? The answer is “it’s not possible” in almost all cases.
Retailers can ask their own customers to fil in surveys at no cost. It is rare for a business to pay for a survey and then the people taking the survey would have to fit specific criteria e.g. for a car maker it might be that you have bought a new car in the last 12 -24 months.
If they want you to install apps in order to be paid then think carefully before agreeing.
Poor Quality Apps
There are endless poor quality apps available. This is often because the app maker does not have the time and resources to invest in making a quality app but it can just be a case of people dumping rubbish apps on the market and not caring.
There is a big demand for online dating and a large number of apps try to make this work. Some of the larger dating services do have very good apps and use the science they can but many are just cheaply created, have no science behind them and invent the numbers of users they claim.
The Ashley Madison debacle showed that while large numbers of men used the site, almost all of the supposed women users were faked by Ashley Madison employees. The men believed they were being contacted by real women but it was largely automated software they were talking to. The Ashly Madison small print did state that use of the site is purely for entertainment i.e. people shouldn’t complain if the person they are talking with is a fake.
Most dating apps have only tiny numbers of users, but they don’t tell you that.
Be careful downloading new apps – preferably only from Google or APPLE depending on your smart phone, do check reviews before downloading and do check any permissions asked for make sense.
If you have any experiences with bad apps do let me know – go to the About page then Contact Us.