You can never know whether or not that app you just downloaded to your smartphone can expose your data or identity to risk. While Google Play and the iTunes store certainly put efforts into ensuring that users can safely browse their app stores, it’s unlikely that they can find every single malicious app out there before it infects someone’s device. Therefore, you need to consider the following measures to ensure that you don’t put your business at risk by downloading unsecure apps.
Google Play Protect is one measure that is helping users identify malicious apps on their phones. It’s not an actual app on your device--rather, it’s a feature that is implemented on the Google Play app store. Google Play Protect basically scans your apps in the background to detect any dangerous applications on your device. You can manually scan your device for threats as well, improve harmful app detection by extending the scanning to any apps not installed through the Google Play store. To do so, open the Google Play Store App, tap the menu on the left, and scroll down and select Play Protect from the menu.
One noteworthy downfall of Google Play Protect is that it doesn’t immediately scan an installed app. Instead, what we recommend is before opening the app for the first time, scan it with Google Play Protect first. However, we do recommend approaching any new app with a grain of salt, starting even before you download it from the Google Play store.
While Google Play Protect can offer some ways to keep your mobile devices safe, you should still consider the following tips to approach downloading new apps as mindfully as possible.
- Download apps from trustworthy sources: Sometimes you might find a link to an app while looking through frequently asked questions or message boards. Be sure that you don’t download apps from external sources, as there is a higher chance that they could put your business in harm’s way. Make sure that any apps you download are reputable and from the Google Play Store. Most Android phones are set up to not allow this by default.
- Check app permissions before downloading: Depending on the type of app you’re downloading, it might ask for access to certain information or functions on your device. It’s up to you to determine whether or not the app is accessing too much, or something that doesn’t make sense. For example, a flashlight app shouldn’t need access to your calls or text messages.
- Implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy: Chances are that your employees have multiple devices that they will bring to the office every day, including a laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Therefore, it makes sense that you have a solution implemented that manages risk from these devices. We recommend a BYOD policy that includes whitelisting and blacklisting apps, remote wiping of compromised devices, and comprehensive mobile security.
To improve the way that your business handles mobile devices and security, reach out to SemTech IT Solutions at 407-830-1434.