In the corporate world, there is a common saying:
If you look around and cannot find what is on sale, you are most likely the product.
Looking at the working model of most companies and firms, that saying is not totally out of place.
Most times, many users do not know that they are paying more for free apps than they believe they are saving.
If you are one of those who believe that freemium is the best way to go, here are a few points to show you that is not the case.
Free vs Paid Apps:
The cases of malware on free apps are so rampant these days, so it makes a fine place to start from.
This problem usually occurs when users are seeking out free versions of paid apps that have not been supplied by the official vendor or developer of such software. Thus, they end up going to third party providers who have hacked, modified (modded), and tweaked the software such that it can now work free.
What users do not consider is how those hackers would have had to change certain codes in the basic software. In the process of changing codes, they can easily insert their malware into the codes also.
On downloading, users give such apps and programs all the permission it needs to launch the malware onto their computers – and every other connected unit also.
2. Data Sales
Top brands like Facebook have landed in hot water multiple times on the back of data sales.
Having billions of users, Facebook can collect certain data from consumers and sell it to other companies, advertisers, and firms. A most recent example is the Cambridge Analytica scandal which brought the limelight onto such issues.
Sadly, Facebook is not the only one in such shoes. Since these app developers and software programmers also seek to make a profit from their creations, selling user data is a no-brainer to them. The problem is usually in the fact that there is no telling what the buyer of such a dataset will do with it.
Sometimes, the cost that you pay for free apps is due to intrusions and poor user experience.
With the paid versions, you will usually not have to worry about ads and other breaks in your usual transmission. Such things are the order of the day with free apps. Especially free apps that have a paid version to back them up.
If you would take the time to estimate the quality of experience you are getting, time spent viewing ads, how much is being made from you via compulsory ad viewing, and other factors, you would also see that paying for the premium version is well worth it anyways.
Limitations in app usage is also a huge price that users pay.
When it comes to security apps, the price you pay on limitation is more than you can ever estimate.
For example, free VPNs usually provide a limited number of servers for users to choose from. They are also usually slow due to the heavy traffic on their servers, which would have a significant impact on your experience.
Similarly, a free antivirus software may only guarantee a basic level of protection, meaning that you are still exposed to more complex and advanced viruses.
Another problem with free apps is the lack of customer support. A lot of users can just rely on information on online forums when their apps go wrong.
Staying Protected when Using Apps
Now that you are aware of the risks you might be exposed to when you use free apps, here are some points for you to consider before you download an app on your device.
1. Read Terms and Agreement
Before you sign up for any app, make sure to read all the terms and conditions provided. That way, you know what kind of data is collected on you, what that data is used for, and how liable you can be in the face of malicious data use.
Likewise, this informs you of what kind of access you should give the app lest it collects more data than you have planned for it.
2. Go for Premium or a Paid Alternative
When you can afford it, always go for the premium apps.
Developers know what they are doing, so they will always unlock the best of their apps for you when you pay. Likewise, such payment serves as encouragement to the developers to make the apps better than what you currently have. In other words, you are motivating them to do better for you.
For instance, a reputable VPN would have a strict no-logs policy to ensure your security and privacy. It would also include a variety of servers so you can access content from more regions. You can also ensure your activities would not be tracked or sold to third parties.
Likewise, a paid antivirus app would also give you more extensive protection for your network. Some paid options also include features like parental control and email scanning.
3. Never Sideload
If the app is not available from your official app stores, never sideload from other sources.
Most times, getting malware from apps is a result of downloading such apps from outside the designated platforms. Since there is no regulatory body to ensure that the apps you are getting from other sources are safe, hackers can input all the kinds of malicious codes that they want on such apps that way.