Read below to understand the risk of free copies of paid apps.
If you are the type to circumvent the Google Play store and acquire free apps from shady websites, you are at great risk. Most Android devices get infected after users download cracked Android apps from an untrustworthy third-party app store.
Android’s ability to sideload apps outside Google Play tempts most users to download cracked apps for free services. Avoiding the Google Play process is a bad idea from the start as other channels may contain malware, which is a great way to harm your device.
You don’t have to risk everything, including your device, just because of a few free apps. The five reasons below explain why cracked apps should be a no-go zone.
- Cracked Apps Introduce Malware and Viruses
When an app is classified as cracked, it means that someone else grabbed its source code from Google Play Store and changed it to unlock premium apps. Understanding this will help you know why installing such an app on your Android device is a significant risk.
Since you don’t know the hackers’ mechanisms to create the cracked app, you may also not know whether he can access personal information once you download the app to your device. The question is not if but when because the hacker has proved that he can hack a well-protected and well-reputed app. Therefore, he can easily access your passwords, contacts, accounts, or entire phone.
Bitdefender is a reputable anti-virus firm for Smartphones, Mac, and Windows. It discourages dealing with these cracked apps as they can expose your address books, bank details, credit cards, passwords, and other personal details. The firm also notes that pirated apps are among the leading sources of viruses and malware for desktops and smartphones alike.
Unlike apps in Google Play Store, sideloaded apps are hard to scan when installing. The APK files have many ways to scan before installing, but the system only requests your confirmation that you trust the developer. In other words, the onus is on you, and any adverse effects that you may encounter after the installation are solely your responsibility.
You don’t need to risk your privacy to enjoy free premium services through a cracked app. It’s highly recommended that you avoid such apps at all costs if you are privacy-conscious.
- Malicious Sources
Even if you haven’t installed the cracked app just yet, you might be at risk if you’ve opened a website offering them. Not only are the pirated apps a threat to your privacy, but also the third-party app stores and websites offering the services. Most of them are riddled with malware.
The first thing you’re likely to encounter once you visit such a website is pop-up ads. You will encounter new windows and tabs opening on every corner, with each luring you to click or tap. It is worth noting that each pop-up could be malicious in its own way.
If you’re lucky to get through the pop-ups unscathed, the site might present a form requiring you to fill or make you do a dodgy thing like download another app which is, in reality, a link, or like a Facebook page. As if that’s not enough, the apps stores and websites will offer additional traps to hack you in every step of downloading the cracked app.
Note that these are a few ways that you risk your privacy and security by visiting such app stores or websites. Conduct more research and find plenty of other hacking traps common in such websites.
- The Cracked App May Not Work
Assuming that you passed through all the traps and somehow managed to download the APK file, you still have no guarantee that the app will be supported or work on your device. It means that you could have risked your privacy for nothing.
All that the websites offering such services want is for you to visit them and expose your information, not to mention increasing their site’s traffic in the process.
The hackers know how trending popular apps are, and they clickbait you to visit their site with an “offer.” This is why website owners advertise false offerings and use catchy titles to tempt you to click that link. The possibility of the whole thing being a hoax plus the dangers discussed above should convince you to avoid cracked apps.
- You Risk Banning and Legal Issues
At this point, we’re assuming that you successfully installed a cracked version of a premium app. What would be the next thing? Sure, the excitement comes with the urge to test the app’s functionality on your device. The first step is to sign up or log in. At this point, you risk facing legal issues, getting your account banned, or getting caught.
Most apps developers have adopted a piracy detection or anti-cheat code embedded in their apps. The code waits for you to connect to the internet and communicates with the server, which takes action against you once it detects you’re using a corrupted version.
Once the developers take note of the issue, they can ban your account or your IP address to deny your device access to the app, even if you use a different account.
- You Discourage Innovation
If you still feel like downloading that cracked app despite the many risks we’ve highlighted, here’s one more thing to consider. Think about the people behind this app and their primary objective. While the app provides fun features and experiences, the developers also sought to make a living from the digital product. Seeing downloads and positive reviews skyrocket motivates them to develop and sustain the apps.
Installing the cracked version of an app ruins the developer’s source of income. This is morally wrong. Of course, you’d like the developers to develop such awesome apps in the future. So, dump the corrupted apps and go to Google Play Store.
Avoid Cracked Apps
Now that we’ve highlighted the risks associated with cracked apps, we hope you’ll avoid them. These are high risks, and you could lose everything, including the control of your device. Instead, look for cashback, special discounts, and free giveaway offered by your favorite apps. This way, you remain on the safe side while enjoying the app’s services and supporting the developer.