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Tip of the Week: Spotting Fake Apps on the Google Play Store

by | Apr 11, 2018 | MyTek Blog, Technology


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Applications can be super helpful for every part of life, including business. But did you know that there are fraudulent apps on the Google Play Store? Some applications that make it onto the play store have malware available for download in many different disguises. Today, we’re going to look at how you can make sure the applications you are downloading are secure and not faking you out.

First of all, you might be wondering how these types of malware apps even make their way onto the Play Store, and how Google misses them. Here is how.

How These Apps Make it to the Play Store

Even though Google knows security is important, somehow these apps have found their way onto their Play Store. But this does not mean that its an easy task for the threats to make it there because hackers have to meet Google’s standard in order to get their applications posted. These malware developers often find ways to sneak in past the automated security implementations that Google uses. First, they upload an app that doesn’t have any malware attached to it so that it can go through the security check, then they install the malware into it. This is the process usually used by these malicious applications so they can get onto the Play Store and can get past Google’s security.

How to Tell If Google Play Apps Are Fake

While Google has implemented Google Play Protect, it isn’t quite enough. You need to be vigilant when downloading apps so that you’re not willingly downloading fake applications to your devices. Here are some ways you can tell if an application is real or not.

  • Name, description, and other details: The first sign of a fake app will be in its name and description box. Most times, if an app is impersonating another, the description may be written in broken English and will be hard to read. If there are major typos in the description, this is an obvious sign that the app is fake, even if the app name is identical to the original.
  • Check the reviews: Always look at the reviews of an application, if there are any. But, also be wary of fake reviews because this is common as well. Any negative review about an application being fake is a sure sign that you should not download it to your device. 
  • The Developer: Is the Developer who they claim to be? If it is a well-known application, you should know who would have developed it and if it is a random company or something you have never heard of, that is a bad sign. 
  • Number of downloads: If this is a very popular app but the number of downloads is really low, this is another bad sign. If there are hundreds, thousands, or millions of downloads, it will probably be a more legitimate application.

Have you ever encountered any fake Google Play apps? Let us know in the comments below!


Tim - Team

Tim Tiller, LMSW

Tim Tiller, MSW brings a deep service background to his role at Mytek, having graduated from McDonald’s management training program, fresh out of high school, and working his way up through the ranks in the hospitality industry. He has led two prior companies – Multi-Systems Inc., an IT-focused organization providing technology to hospitality companies (where he was named President at age 36), and most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Voice Ministries International.


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