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Be wary of fake mobile apps in the leadup to Christmas

Priority Level: 
Moderate
7 November 2016

You are reminded to be wary when installing mobile apps from application stores, following media reports of a sharp rise in fake retail and product apps being marketed through a popular online store ahead of the holiday season.

If you download and install these apps on your phone, you may be exposing your device and data to malicious software (malware). This malware can pave the way for attacks ranging from unwanted pop-up ads to more serious efforts to steal personal and financial data, or lock your files and demand a ransom for the key that allows you to regain access to them. 

One media report cites examples of fake apps that try to trick visitors to app stores into thinking they represent legitimate brands.

Staying safe

Stay Smart Online recommends using security software on your phone or tablet and automating security updates on your device software. If you are unsure about whether your device has been infected with malware, seek advice from a technical expert.

You should review closely each app you are considering downloading for indications it may be fake. Some non-genuine apps may be identifiable by poor grammar or spelling, or by the use of names very similar to those of recognised brands. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of an app, contact the business the app purports to be from using contact details sourced from official websites or materials. 

More information

Stay Smart Online has more information on securing your mobile devices.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.