Android phones are more prone to malware than iOS devices due to the weak safeguards put up to the Play Store by Google. While the open nature of Android is encouraging more number of smartphone users to prefer it, it is also leading to problems regarding the platform’s security. Approved app developers just need to pass through some routine checks before posting a new app on to the Play Store. While there are a set of precautions that smartphone users need to take to protect their phones from malware, special care is advised while downloading and installing apps on Android phones. Below are some of the tips to protect your Android phone from malicious apps:

Stick to Trusted Sources for Downloading Apps

Unlike iOS, apps for Android are available from multiple stores. Some of the most popular stores for Android apps are Google’s own Play Store, Amazon’s App Store, SlideME and many other independent stores maintained by network operators/app developers. Try to stick to reputed app stores  before downloading apps for your device. But as mentioned in the introduction, lax controls on stores providing Android apps doesn’t guarantee complete protection.

Check the Ratings Given by Other Users

Always check the ratings given by other users of the app before downloading it. People who had had bad experiences with an app will write a few words of caution regarding it in the comments and feedback section of the app. If you find any bad feedback on the app, try to dig deeper information regarding the background of the app developer. If the earlier apps developed by the same developer have any bad record, then try to avoid downloading any other apps from that developer.

Be Extra Cautious Before Installing APK files

Android application package files (APKs) allow developers to bypass popular app stores and supply apps to users directly from their own websites. But many apps with malware are distributed to consumer in the form of APKs as there are no checks and controls on them. Check the background of the app’s developer more thoroughly before installing APKs developed by him/her. Some sites offer free APKs of many popular paid Android apps. But these sites modify the app to include malware or adware before distributing them.

Use ‘Verify Apps’ Feature on your Android Phones

If you are unsure about the credentials of an app, you can verify the app through the ‘verify apps’ feature in Android phones. When an app is verified through this feature, Google checks its credentials of the app through its log information, related URLs of the app, etc. If Google finds that the app is harmful, it will warn you not to install it or block its installation completely. To activate the ‘Verify Apps’ feature go to Google Settings > Verify apps (for devices using Android 4.2 and higher: go to Settings > Security > Verify apps).

Be Careful with Apps Asking Too Many Permissions

Malicious apps generally ask too many and unnecessary permissions to access the data on your phone. Hence be careful with apps which are asking needless permissions. For example, there is no need for a music app to access the phone book. The kind of permissions that an app asks can be first warning regarding its malicious nature.