|3 Tips to Safely Side-Load Third-Party Apps on Your Android Device|
3 Tips to Safely Side-Load Third-Party Apps on Your Android DevicePosted by Ravi Sharma in: android
3 Tips to Safely Side-Load Third-Party Apps on Your Android Device
The Google Play Store is a great place for downloading Android apps on your Android smartphone or tablet device. There are, however, a few apps out there that are not available on the official Play Store. There's an element of risk when working with apps downloaded from these sites. You could be downloading fake apps, illegal apps, or worse – apps loaded with malware that can steal your private data and/or take complete control of your phone.
These tips, however, ought to help you better protect yourself as you work with apps from unofficial, third-party websites:
If you have to work with sensitive data on your phone or tablet, then don't take the risk of installing insecure apps on it.
Operating from a worst-case scenario mindset will help shield you from significant damage just in case the worst does come to happen. These 'insulated' devices don't contain login credentials to your work or professional accounts (email, phone lists, social media, credit card, PayPal etc.) Cybercrooks can take over your Android device for all you care, and you'll only be inconvenienced – not truly hurt.
It helps that powerful Android devices are pretty cheap nowadays, so it's actually quite feasible to own a highly-secure work device and a less secure personal device.
Install an antivirus app on your device before you even start looking for third-party apps.
Go with the big, recognizable names in antivirus security: Avast, McAfee, AVG, Avira, 360 Security, and TrustGo to name a few. Each has something unique to offer, but they all help protect your phone or tablet from malicious software. Download your chosen anti-virus app from the official Google Play Store just to be on the safe side. Once this is done, use them to 'scan' any APK files you download. Even if they're not perfect, they will help screen out a large number of apps that are loaded with spyware and malware.
These apps also help protect your phone against malicious websites that sneakily install malware or spyware when you visit them. These apps will help protect you at this early stage, which makes them a must-have when surfing the 'net for APKs.
And last but definitely not the least, compare the permissions of the apps you want to install with the functions they're supposed to provide.
For example, you want to install a simple single-player game on your phone. But why should a simple game ask for permission to check your contact list, send text messages, send emails, open your camera, open the microphone? If you see permission requests that don't add up to the purported function of the app, it may be bundled with software hidden inside its guts.
If your device uses Android 6.0 or up, you can actually control the permissions an app will have access to. You can install an app but deny access to your contact lists, which is a good thing from a security standpoint.
Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be able to more safely work with third-party apps from sources outside the Google Play Store!
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