FB Data Theft: How to Spot Fake Apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store

Meta Inc has published a list of over 400 apps that steal its users’ login credentials. According to the social media giant, the apps were listed on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Of these 400 malicious apps, about 47 were iOS apps. Facebook has already notified Google and Apple about these malicious apps and is also helping its affected users to secure their accounts.

Although these apps are designed to be fun and useful in order to trick the user into downloading them, there are some telltale signs that differentiate them from legitimate apps. Here are some things you can look for to identify the legitimacy of apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store

– Misspelling in the name of the application and its description below

– Going through the app description, look for tags like “Editor’s Choice” and “Top Developer”. You can also visit the developer’s website

– Look for the number of downloads. Although it is not a 100% proof of the authenticity of the app, but generally a fake/malicious app will have less downloads than genuine apps

– Check app ratings and reviews. Go through the comments if you like

– Google and Apple remove apps flagged as fake. But they return under one or the other disguise. Find the release date of the app. A genuine app will usually not have a recent release date and will likely have received updates lately. While a fake app is more likely to have a recent publication date. Note that this is not always a mark of authenticity.

– Find phone permissions requested by the app. Obviously a third party app asks for permissions like access to your contacts, dialer, etc., but if it asks for permissions like camera, audio, etc., there is a reason to be skeptical.

– Is the application unusable if you do not provide your Facebook information? For example, beware of a photo-editing app that needs your Facebook ID and password before allowing you to use it.

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