Use Permissions to Remove Rogue Apps From Your Android Device

Google has removed another batch of terrible Android apps from the Google Play store for violating the company’s terms of service. The survey includes 101 applications belonging to a single group known as the 2NAD network, which used 27 fictitious developer names as cover for the distribution of many questionable applications.

All of these rogue apps contain various types of malicious or exploitative code – mostly ad fraud and unwanted data collection through third-party app permissions. You should definitely go through the list of all 101 Cybernews apps and uninstall anything you might have downloaded, but now is also a great time to brush up on ways to detect a malicious app before it infects your Android in the first place.

How to recognize a schematic Android app

While it’s good to see Google ban questionable apps and developers, bans are almost always reactive rather than preventative. One of the best preventative strategies you can use for your Android device is securing a trusted anti- malware app to help reduce your risk if a malicious app is detected. But you can also understand how risky an app is just by checking the permissions it asks for when it installs.

App permissions are an easy way to determine if an app is safe before downloading it. I say “safe” and not outright malware because some applications do not contain malicious code and leave your data alone, but may still try to exploit you in other questionable ways. And even if the app itself doesn’t do anything dubious, it may have access to certain functions or data types that you might not like.

You can check Android app permissions on app stores like Google Play and Amazon before downloading them.

Google games

  1. Go to the app page in the Google Play Store.
  2. Scroll down to the Permissions section.
  3. Click on “Details”.
  4. You will be shown a list of the permissions that the app asks for when installing it.

Amazon App Store

  1. Open the app page on Amazon.
  2. Click View All App Permissions or scroll down to Technical Details.

How to check the permissions of installed apps

Apps will ask for permissions during installation and / or the first time you open them or use one of their functions. Likewise, you can check the permissions for any apps you currently have installed through your Android device’s settings app. The permissions menu is in different places depending on which device you have, but you should be able to search for “Permissions” and jump straight to it. The menu will list all installed apps and every type of permissions they have. Be sure to study them carefully.

But what exactly should you look for? Well, in general, any permission that seems inappropriate or unnecessary. Here are some good examples from a Cybernews post about a recent 2NAD malware review:

  • Call recorder application that requires permission to take photos and record videos.
  • A calculator app that asks permission for your camera and your phone’s status, allowing them to see your cellular network information, phone accounts, and call status.
  • A dual account app that wants to access your GPS, camera, microphone, body sensors, calendar, view and edit contacts, view and edit files, check phone status, and more.
  • A photo editor who wants to record audio.
  • A memory accelerator that needs your exact location.
  • A phone cooler that wants to see and edit your files, determine your location and the status of your phone.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the point is clear: an application should not ask for permissions that are not related to its intended functionality. If so, and this fact has already raised your suspicions, remove it, or at least take a few minutes to do some additional research and determine if this app is right for your device.


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