Third-party app risks
The most popular smart phone operating systems are iOS, Android and HarmonyOS. Users can access their preferred apps through the official secure app stores such as Apple’s App Store, Google Play or Huawei AppGallery. Baseline security checks are carried out to ensure that the apps allowed into these stores are secure. However, there are instances when users may wish to download apps outside their official app store. These unofficial app stores are commonly referred to as third-party app stores. These are the common risks of using such third-party app stores:
- Installing harmful software that may lead to loss of your personal data since they bypass your smartphone’s operating software secure controls
- Installing counterfeit versions of popular apps that may contain hidden trackers and spyware
- Unknowingly allowing a malicious actor access sensitive functions of your smartphone such as your microphone, geolocation and camera
The general rule is to as much as possible avoid installing apps on your smartphone from third-party app stores. Stick to your supported official stores, the common ones are Apple’s App Store, Google Play or Huawei AppGallery. If you decide to install an app from a third-party app store, we recommend you do your diligence by reading up on the app reviews to check for any malicious behavior.