How often do you use a mobile device? Research shows that the average U.S. adult spends nearly six hours on his or her smartphone per day — and that’s just one type of mobile device. Whether you use a smartphone, a tablet or any other mobile device, though, you should beware of third-party mobile apps. They may look legitimate, but they can create vulnerabilities that leave your device susceptible to cyber attacks.

What Are Third-Party Mobile Apps?

Third-party mobile apps are those available to download outside of an official app store. Each of the two major mobile platforms has its own official app store. For the Android platform, there’s the Google Play Store. For the Apple platform, there’s the App Store.

Regardless of what type of mobile app you are searching for, you can probably find it on an official app store. Some developers, though, may release their apps elsewhere. These third-party mobile apps aren’t available to download on an official app store. Rather, you can find them on places like the developer’s website or various file-sharing services. They are known as “third-party mobile apps” because they are downloaded from a third-party platform and not an official app store.

How Third-Party Mobile Apps Affect Cybersecurity

Whether official or third party, not all mobile apps are inherently secure. Some of them may contain vulnerabilities, such as a backdoor or even malware. Third-party mobile apps, however, are more likely to contain vulnerabilities than their official counterparts.

All apps added to official app stores undergo a thorough review process. To add his or her app to an official app store, a developer must submit it for approval. Only after the official app store has reviewed, as well as scanned, the developer’s app will it be added. Third-party mobile apps don’t go through this same review process.

With third-party mobile apps, you’ll have to rely on your mobile device’s own built-in cybersecurity solutions to protect against vulnerabilities. Since third-party mobile apps aren’t available on an official app store, they don’t go through the same thorough review process. Downloading a third-party mobile app could result in a serious vulnerability that paves the way for a cyber attack.

Stick With Official Mobile Apps

To minimize your risk of mobile-related cyber attacks, you should stick with official mobile apps. Third-party mobile apps can leave your device susceptible to cyber attacks. Some of them are designed specifically to carry out cyber attacks, whereas others simply contain unknown vulnerabilities.

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