Comments by: Boris Cipot, Senior Security Engineer, Synopsys Software Integrity Group
Even though there are safeguards in place on the Google PlayStore to protect Android users against potentially unwanted or malicious apps, you should not place all of your trust in these measures. Google has some ways of checking that applications are not immediately dangerous or harmful for their users and their devices. However, criminals will always find a way to get past those safeguards, even if just temporarily. Once the malicious intentions and harmful behaviour of an app are discovered, it would have been too late for many of the users.
Do not carelessly download applications from app stores. Check when the app was published and how long it has been on the app store. Check what users are saying about the app and be on the lookout for fake reviews. Make sure that you also use an anti-malware protection software on your device. Even if the latest malware might not be detected right away with the software, it can still help you to see if an app has too many permissions on your device and flag it as suspicious. Moreover, check with your mobile service provider regarding how you can switch off the premium number usage. We would not normally use premium numbers and therefore, some operators can also switch the usage of those off for you. In doing so, you could save at least some unwanted charges when the Joker strikes.