The hidden danger of free services



The hidden harm of 'free' applications, we will tell you why free cheese is only in a mousetrap.

Let's start from afar.

Mobile app development is expensive. The average cost depends on the complexity of the application:

  • A simple application costs about $3000 (the term of work is 1-2 months);
  • Application of medium complexity - 4000-5000 dollars (3-4 months);
  • Hard - $6000 (over 4 months).

Developers do a great job, from creating a general concept, to developing the design and layout, thinking through the navigation, creating the application itself, testing and launching it, followed by monitoring.

The process of creating applications for Android, iOS, Windows Phone operating systems consists of several stages.

1. Free estimate of cost takes (about 2 days);

2. Study of the problem, market and competition (about 5 days);

3. Writing a technical assignment depending on the complexity of the application (10-15 days);

4. Development of design (from 5 to 15 days);

5. Programming takes from 20 days to 4 months;

6. Testing and monitoring of the application is carried out within 5 - 10 days.

If a very complex application is being developed, parallel programming is carried out to speed up the delivery of the work.

The main goal of creating an application is most often material. The development of such a service should pay off, and somehow make a profit.

Now let's look at exactly how the company can make money:

1. Built-in advertising.

Everything here is transparent and understandable, the company can make the entire service or part of its functions free for the consumer, and earn through advertising integrations, receiving money from the advertiser. Quite a safe story, why not. In such services, as a rule, only part of the functions are free, and then the second option of earning is included.

2. Paid subscriptions.

For those users who use the service actively, most often for business, the functions of the free version are not enough. Then the application offers to purchase a subscription, which makes it possible to use all the functions of the application, and get the most out of it for the consumer. Here, too, everything is honest and open. Such services receive good profits due to the active use of their development by customers, therefore they carefully monitor both the safety of using their service and the quality of its work.

Now let's imagine that you have downloaded an application (this topic is especially relevant for Android), use all its functions, but no one takes any payments from you, and moreover, does not even show ads. Strange, isn't it?

People have spent a huge amount of money: they have a staff that supports the operation of the service - and the company does not receive anything in return? Of course not. The company will earn in any case, that's just openly or hidden, another question.

Attention: If you come across such services, and they do not belong to the State or the services of the Red Cross - think about it, and our advice is better not to use it.

How can this be dangerous for the user, and how do companies make money in such cases?

Now let's move on to three types of 'illegal' earnings on applications, which many users do not even think about, being delighted with the free use of the resource.

Option 1

Collecting user data.

If the creators of the application make money on you in this way, using the service, you risk the security and confidentiality of your user data, as well as leakage of information about data for access to various systems, third-party access to your personal documents, etc.

Such information is sold to advertisers for contextual advertising (at best), at worst, it may end up with scammers and lead to serious consequences. Especially for legal entities, or users using the service for business, whose data may be, among other things, a commercial secret.

Option 2

Viruses.

Any user's mobile device can have information about the owner's bank account and make payments. By creating a virus, cybercriminals are counting on this. More and more new means of obtaining secret data from mobile devices are invented, providing such a collection of information. Unfortunately, there is no absolute protection against virus attacks, but reasonable precautions significantly reduce the risks of losing your e-wallet.

'The most dangerous type of virus for mobile banking applications today is the Spyware type. They steal data and send it to their creators, who can take control of their victim's bank account in minutes. Their collection is regularly updated. So, in July this year, according to Forbes magazine, a version of the virus appeared - the BianLian Trojan, which can steal data from banking applications of mobile devices.

A detailed analysis of the virus showed that it is able to steal information using screenshots (snapshots) of the device's screen, pretending to be a program for people with disabilities. But he can do harm only if the user himself allows him access to the photo functions of the smartphone. If such permission is received, then control over the e-wallet may be lost.

Protecting a mobile device from virus programs is, first of all, our own care. Viruses usually disguise themselves as legitimate programs, but they are easy enough to spot. So, for example, if the 'Flashlight' program, which uses the flash of a smartphone for lighting, suddenly asks you for permission to access your contact list, this should make you suspicious. It is possible that the application you downloaded from an unofficial store may contain a virus. And it's better to remove it.

Option 3

Mining.

The unexpected success of bitcoin gave us the creators of crypto farms and cryptocurrency hunters. And if it is not so easy to 'mine' bitcoin now, then other similar currencies are quite real. If you dive a little into the process itself, then these operations require a huge amount of energy and the internal resource of the device from which this 'extraction' occurs.

Now these crypto farms have gone further and make money using other people's devices. For example, using a 'free' application, you give such 'farmers' access to your smartphone, and they start mining cryptocurrency remotely, right from your device. And, in general, there is nothing wrong with that, except that the resources of your phone will wear out at an incredible rate, like the battery charge.

Therefore, to summarize with advice:

If you use the service, especially for business, you need to understand that one way or another - you will pay for this use. Open (as a subscription) or hidden (viruses, data loss, damage to the device) - you decide.