Downloading Android apps and protecting your privacy/data

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Dolorian, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. Dolorian macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    As far as I know, the is no approval process for the Google Play Store. Anyone can write and publish an app there without it being first reviewed by Google or anyone else for that matter.

    This being the case, as a future Android smartphone owner, I would like to hear from the Android users in this forum how they go about protecting their data and privacy within this environment. In my iPhone I download many apps that catch my interest just to test them and see if I like them, if not, I delete them. Due to the approval process of the App Store I feel safe in doing this since at least I know that the available apps are checked before they are made available.

    But without an approval process for apps to become available in the Google Play Store, isn't one very vulnerable to malicious apps that end up mining your data and uploading/publishing it elsewhere without your knowledge or consent?
  2. Mac.World macrumors 68000


    Jan 9, 2011
    In front of uranus
    You do know that it was the App Store that had the most recent malware, right? You do know that iTunes gets hacked near daily and credit card info stolen. Happened to me. With Android, the approval process isn't strict like ios, because it is up to the user to accept whether or not you allow the app to be downloaded based on the permissions it asks for. If you are downloading a flashlight app for example and it is asking for contact, phone and Internet permissions, that should be a red flag.
    Android requires user interaction. iOS is literally dumbed down, so even the most un-tech savy user can use it right away without consequence.
  3. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    I'm rooted and I use DroidWall to only allow the apps I want to access data. Also if I'm that paranoid, I can also use App Quarantine to temporary disable an app until I enable again.

    If you ever root, I highly recommend using these two. Depending on your use it can save battery life too, especially with App Quarantine which I use on some Samsung and AT&T apps.
  4. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    What Mac.World just said is true.

    But honestly, don't base your downloads on permissions alone. You have to understand that some of the frameworks developers use rely on some things and they're always changing (but Google Play will alert you on that before installing an update). Your phone state and identity is probably the most common. Probably for statistics which help developers in creating their next update and follow-up game.

    Right now I'm using Norton Spot to detect anything fishy. I'm liking it so far.
  5. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012

    Although like said is true and a flashlight app shouldn't need permission to your contacts.

    If you are rooted you can block an apps attempt to access your contacts or whatever.

    The only time an app won't automatically update (unless you have it set to manual) is if it's permissions change. Then you can check it and chose whether to update or not.
  6. Wrathwitch macrumors 65816

    Dec 4, 2009
    Well to try to answer the OPs question on how I try to avoid such things.

    1) I have Avast mobile security. No it's not the end all be all of protection, but it makes me feel better.

    2) I review the permissions in the Android Play store. I also do some Google searches regarding any permissions I might find to be "sketchy".

    3) I check on the reliability/reputation of some of the app writers. (I only go this far if there is permissions that I am uncertain about).

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