And because the endless wave of spyware was not enough, we now have one more thing to worry about: sideloading Android apps. For those unfamiliar with the term, sideloading means getting an app (i.e., Netflix, Evernote, OneNote) from sources other than the official websites. Sure, there’s no difference between the ‘official’ app and the .apk package you get from third-parties, but as it happens, hackers have gotten wind of this and started injecting malicious code in sideloading Android apps.
Why would you want to sideload an app in the first place?
Because of privacy, that’s why – many of us just have reached the conclusion most of the apps from giants like Amazon, Google, or Microsoft are just there to mine data and nothing else. To this end, more and more people are seeking open-source alternatives. Of course, there are tons of open-source apps like VLC that feature in Google’s Play Store; but not all of them.
So, if you’re looking for something more exotic, you’ll either to cross your fingers for the app to be featured in the Play Store or trudge through various sideloading websites. Now, here’s where it gets interesting – according to a sideloading investigation spearheaded by Forbes, many of the .apk packages are laced with malicious code. What’s even worse is that APKs which, theoretically, should start installing legit apps on your Android device, actually downloads spyware.
What’s there to be done in this case? Obviously, downloading Android apps from Google Play would dramatically decrease the risk of your device getting infected by malware. Still, what if you can’t find that app you were looking for on the Play Store? Again, stick with trusted sources. For instance, APK Mirror, a website which boasts the largest APK collections, is legit and trusted by Google. More than that, all the .apk packages uploaded on the website have been hand-tested and scanned prior to publication.
Lesson learned today? If you can’t find it on Google Play or websites like APK Mirror, it’s probably for the best. Don’t go poking your nose where it doesn’t belong, because you get very well get stung. So, what’s your favorite sideloading website? Shoot me a comment and let me know.