Google Play Store is no longer a safe place for app users. The number of malware found on public applications available on Google Play has increased significantly over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, most Android users are unaware that specific applications can seriously harm their devices or lead to data theft.
There is no doubt that downloading and installing random Google Play applications will eventually result in a security issue. While there are ways to check the credibility of certain apps (by going through reviews and looking up the app on Google search), some malware-infected applications look very trustworthy at first glance. That’s why it’s becoming more difficult to fight off these threats. With that said, here are six Android applications you should avoid at all costs!
#1 UC Browser
We’ve all heard of the Chinese tech giant Alibaba, right? Well, their subsidiary UCWeb has created the UC browser, which just happens to be one of the most downloadable web browsers on Android. It’s difficult to understand why users often opt for less popular web browsers instead of Google, which is certainly one of the most convenient options out there.
However, the UC browser is proven to have certain deficiencies, especially in the cybersecurity realm. Namely, the browser does not protect its data transmissions as it should, meaning your personal data could be exposed to third parties, including hackers and intelligence agencies. Instead of risking your data on UC Browser, opt for Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, both of which are completely free.
Next on the list is CleanIt, a popular junk file cleaner app that looks safe at first glance. CleanIt looks legit because it has millions of downloads on Google’s Play Store. However, if you look deeper into the app, you’ll notice that it asks for a ton of permissions on your device, most of which are not necessary for junk file cleaning (such as camera and microphone permissions).
In reality, phone cleaning apps don’t serve that big of a purpose. Sure, they can stop applications from running in the background and delete duplicate files, but is that really worth the security risk? The good news is that there are several great alternatives to CleanIt that won’t ask for crazy permissions. Those include CCleaner and Greenify, among others.
#3 Free VPNs
Most virtual private networks offer a free trial for their VPN services. After all, a VPN is one of the most reliable cyber security tools available nowadays. While free trials of reputable VPN services won’t do any harm, you should stay away from entirely free VPNs for several reasons. Not only are free VPNs not going to protect your data adequately against third parties, but they may even put it in danger.
While the providers of free VPN services claim to protect their users’ data, in reality, they often save it and even sell it to third parties. That’s how they can offer the service for free because they end up making money off of your data. If you’re looking for the best VPN for Firestick or any digital device, make sure to opt for a paid and reliable service provider.
#4 Virus Cleaner – Antivirus Free & Phone Cleaner
Next up is a virus cleaner designed to rid your device of unwanted malware, which is ironic because this app can’t be trusted. The main reason why you should avoid this app is that it is packed with ads, which makes it nearly impossible to use without being bombarded by random photos all the time.
What makes the safety level of using this app even more questionable is the fact that its advertising system promotes unreliable brands and services. Moreover, any app that promises to protect your phone on so many levels for absolutely free of charge should not be trusted. Better alternatives for these kinds of purposes include Avast and AVG applications.
#5 RT News
The final app on our list is RT News, funded by Kremlin. Short for Russia Today, RT News claims to be a trustworthy journalistic source. In reality, the network is an outlet for the Russian government’s propaganda, and it is often flooded with fake news. However, fake news isn’t the only reason to avoid this app.
With Russian media outlets being targeted by cybercriminals, many of their platforms are bombarded with fake links and ads that could lead to malware-infected sites. The best way to ensure the information you’re reading is safe and factually correct is to replace fake news apps with alternatives such as CNN and BBC.
Avoid Unreliable Apps on Google Play Store
As much as Google tries to stay ahead of the game and remove malicious apps from their platform, some unreliable applications still manage to slide under the radar. The five apps we mentioned above are only a small portion of the pool of malware-infected and fake news apps you will find on Google Play. Stay safe, avoid downloading random applications, and use a VPN to protect your personal data.