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Facebook Data Theft: How to Stay Safe from Fake Apps

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Meta Inc has released a list of more than 400 malicious mobile apps available in the official Apple and Google app stores that are designed to compromise people’s Facebook accounts. Of these 400 malicious apps, about 47 were iOS apps. Facebook has already informed Google and Apple of these malicious apps and is also helping its affected users to secure their accounts.

The malware was detected as various kinds of apps. It includes fake photo editors, virtual private networks that claimed to boost browsing speeds and get access to blocked websites, mobile games, and health and lifestyle trackers. Some promised to turn the user’s face into a cartoon, while others provided horoscopes.

How to Stay Safe from Fake Apps?

However, there are some telltale signs which differentiate them from legitimate apps. Here are a few things you can look for to identify the legitimacy of apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store

  • While going through the app description, look for tags like “Editor’s Choice” and “Top Developer”. You may also visit the developer’s website
  • Look for the download count. While it is not 100% proof of the app’s Genuity, generally a fake/malicious app will have less download count than the genuine ones
  • Check the app’s ratings and reviews. Go through the comments if you may like
  • Spelling mistake in the app name and its description below
  • Look for the phone permissions that the app is asking for. It is, but obvious for a third-party app to ask for permissions like access to your contacts, dialler, etc. but if it asks for permissions like camera, audio, and more, there is a reason to be skeptical.
  •  Look for the app’s publish date. A genuine app, usually will not have a recent publication date and is likely to have received updates in recent times. While a fake app is most likely to have a recent publish date. Do note that this is not always a mark of genuineness.

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