When is an app or program safe?

When is an app or program safe?What a user can do with a computer, smartphone or tablet depends on the programs on it. But how do you know which apps are safe?

There are programs (also called apps) on every computer, smartphone and tablet. They ensure that things can be done on the device. Word to process text, a browser to access the internet or Spotify to listen to music. All examples of programs/apps. By default, many apps are already on a device. More (free) programs can be downloaded to expand the possibilities of a computer, smartphone or tablet. For example, games, news apps or apps from clothing stores. But how do you know which programs are safe?

Each device has its own store to buy programs/apps. On a Windows computer, that’s the Microsoft Store. The Play Store is on an Android smartphone or tablet. And all Apple products (Mac, iPhone, iPad) use the App Store. There are many programs in these online stores. Some are free and others you have to pay. Basically, your device’s official store is the safest place to download new programs. All apps in these stores are checked. Although it differs per store how strict the checks are. For example, Apple is very strict with what comes in the App Store, but the control in the Play Store is less strict. It therefore does not hurt to remain alert when downloading from these stores.

Do you want to download a specific app from one of the ‘stores’? Then pay attention to the following things:

  • Look for experiences of others. Read the reviews in the app store and search for reviews from other users on Google. If there are many problems or if things stand out in a negative way, do not download the app.
  • Check who is the publisher/creator of an app. If an unknown publisher is listed, tap the publisher’s name to see more apps from this company. This will give you an idea of ​​the type of apps the company makes.
  • Look at the number of downloads. Apps from well-known companies are downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. With apps that are barely downloaded, something could be going on.
  • Look at the spelling of the name of the app and the text that comes with it. A (fictional) app called Gmeel is not the app of the mail program Gmail.

Not all apps are available through the ‘stores’. Some, generally free, programs can only be downloaded from the Internet. That is not entirely without risk. Below we indicate a number of guidelines to limit the risk.

By the way, downloading via the internet is mainly intended for computers. Downloading outside of the App Store is not possible on the iPhone or iPad. It is possible to install apps that come from the internet on Android devices. But that is very unwise.

To begin with, it is advisable to check the reputation of the program and the provider before downloading. Is it a reliable program? Then go directly to the website of the provider or developer of the software to download the program. Sometimes the provider redirects you to a website like download.com. That’s safe. The provider has collected its software here itself.

Avoid downloading from so-called collection sites, such as Softonic. These sites offer all kinds of programs. But in addition to the program you want, a collection site often installs other software without being asked.

Some websites with software are unclear. For example, there are several buttons with ‘Download’. While only one of the buttons actually downloads the program. For example, the other button will take you to another software maker’s website. He then bought the button as advertising. It’s hard to tell which button is real and which is advertising. Can’t see the difference? Then you are probably not on the website of the developer of the program. It will usually only place one Download button. So use another website to download the program.

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