Most of us use programs and apps on a daily basis. Programs are another name for computer software you use to achieve certain tasks while apps (short for applications) have the exact same meaning but they apply to programs on your smartphone or device. Programs and apps are everywhere—and it can be very difficult to determine which you can download with no issues and which may be malicious or otherwise unsafe. If you want to know more about program and app security to keep you and those who work for you safe, follow these guidelines:

Guidelines for Program and App Security

  • Only get programs and apps from trusted sources or vendors. If you’re downloading apps from the Google Play store or Apple App store, you’re likely safe. It’s only when you go looking for random software from unverified sources that you really get into trouble. However, sometimes a malicious app can still sneak through to seemingly safe marketplaces, so it’s always worth it to dig a little deeper before trusting it.
  • Make sure you have security on all your devices. Security software is common on computers, but many people don’t realize they also need it on their phones and tablets. Good software will scan your apps for suspicious red flags and advanced software can actually perform data backups or wipe data remotely if your device is stolen. We recommend Bitdefender Mobile Security, a robust device management suite you can get at a reasonable price.
  • When it comes to downloading apps, saving money should not be your main concern. If you find a free or lower-cost version of paid software, it’s likely a scam or it contains malware. Play it safe and spend the money on the real deal.
  • Be careful with information you give to an app. Apps ask for all kinds of information, much of which is legit. Name, phone number, demographics, and even birthdate can help the app customize to your unique preferences. If an app is asking for social security information or credit card numbers (if they are supposedly free), you might want to think twice about downloading it.
  • Make sure you check which permissions you’re granting. Many apps require a variety of permissions before you download them. These can range from permission to see your location to permission for the app to actually read and write to your SD card. Make sure you know what the app needs permission for to run properly and what seems strange. You can always ask an expert like those at Elkhorn Computers if you’re not sure.
  • Pay attention to the licensing. Some programs are free for individuals to use, but then require a fee for business use. If you happen to use your free version for business purposes, you could be facing legal issues. Again, if you’re not sure which version of an app to download, you can always ask our team.

Staying safe online takes education, diligence, and a healthy dose of skepticism. When you follow the above guidelines before downloading programs or apps, you’ll be better able to determine what’s safe and what could lead to problems down the road.