Monday 02 June, 2014

Sideloading Apps – What It Is and Why It’s Dangerous

You probably know about downloading and uploading. Sideloading is another way to get data. It means moving data form side to side, rather than up or down. For example, if you move data from a detachable hard drive to your computer, this is sideloading.

If you’re using an Android device, you can sideload apps from another device to your Android. Unlike other operating systems like iOS, where you can only get apps from an approved and designated source, you can get apps from anywhere for your Android device by sideloading. Basically, it allows you to bypass the official app market.

This sounds like a great advantage of Android devices, but there are a couple of reasons why sideloading isn’t always a good idea. For one thing, it’s often used by people to obtain apps illegally. They can move an app from one device to another without paying for it.

Why Sideloading Is Dangerous

But the main problem with sideloading is that it’s incredibly easy to get viruses. In fact, this is how a great deal of malware is spread among Android devices. When you buy or download an app from an official source, it’s certified. This means that it doesn’t contain malicious code that can hurt your device and its data. This isn’t the case when you sideload an app.

Increasingly, hackers are taking advantage of the fact that Android users sideload their apps. They include malware in these apps and let users spread it for them. This is why security firms generally take a dim view of sideloading and warn against it.

Furthermore, some devices require you to brick or jailbreak before you can sideload. This is because you need to obtain root access to the device. This increases your risk of getting viruses even more and voids the warrantee for your device. You should only do this if you understand mobiles and computers well and know what you’re doing.

Should You Sideload Apps?

Sideloading is risky, so it’s generally recommended that only experienced users do it. If you’re going to sideload, you need to do it safely. Check out the app carefully and make sure it’s safe. Research the app and make sure that it’s legit. If at all possible, try to get your apps from an official source rather than sideloading.

Whether you sideload or not, you should have an anti-virus program installed on your Android device. Many people don’t think to do this with mobile devices but they carry all of the same risks. Hackers are increasingly targeting mobile devices in addition to PCs. It’s especially important to have an anti-virus program in place if you’re an Android user, since they’re the most likely to be infected.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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