How to Spot Malicious Apps

A malicious app is created specifically with the intention to cause harm.

They’re usually designed to appear as innocent apps, or even clones of official apps, to steal sensitive information.

For example, a malicious developer could design a storage cleaner app to steal files and data from the users that install it on their devices. Or, clone a familiar banking app to take your account details.

What Makes an App Malicious?

There are plenty of applications that exist that could be vulnerable to hacking but overall have no sinister intentions.

For example, any app that collects location data could be intercepted by a hacker looking to steal that information. These appear as riskier apps but aren’t developed to cause deliberate harm.

Malicious apps, on the other hand, exist primarily to either steal information from the user who installs it or to manipulate the device it’s installed on.

Malicious Behavior to Look Out For

Developers have smart ways to make malicious apps appear genuine, so it’s vital you understand how to spot a malicious app before downloading it to your device.

Avoid third-party APK files

The Apple and Google official app stores protect you and your data from harm by verifying that the apps they offer are safe. Third-party sites offering APK files to download do not offer protection and pose a significant security threat.

Apple verifies all apps in the store. On Android, look for the ‘Verified by Play Protect’ message when installing an app.

App Store Reviews and Strange App Descriptions

A legit app has lots of genuine reviews and ratings left by users. They also have descriptive information about how the app works.

If you come across an app that has almost no reviews, or the reviews appear to be copied and pasted, this could be a warning sign.

Similarly, if there’s no app description or the information is vague with lots of grammatical errors, chances are the app could be malicious.

Check for higher-than-usual data usage

Malicious apps often use your data to perform sketchy tasks in the background without your knowledge.

Check your monthly data usage in your settings, or install a dedicated data monitor like GlassWire.

If something doesn’t seem right, and the problematic app appears to be using far more data than it should be, uninstall it immediately.

Common Mobile Vulnerabilities

Mobile devices can be susceptible to malicious apps or other kinds of security threats because they have certain vulnerabilities that hackers exploit.

Data Leaks

When you install an app, how often do you check what permissions you’re allowing?

Apps often collect sensitive data and we don’t read the fine print to see what this is. You could potentially be handing over a lot of your personal information without realizing it.

Open Wifi

Open wifi spots—ones you can connect to without a password—can be convenient in a pinch.

However, they pose a massive risk.

When your device is connected, hackers can easily intercept the data you’re sending and receiving and even access your device.

Old or Out-of-Date Device

Did you know that mobile devices only receive software and security updates for a certain number of years?

After that, the device becomes a huge target for hackers.

As newer models come out, developers stop providing support for the older devices. This leaves big gaps in security which can be exploited.

Poor Password Protection

Kaspersky Labs found that over half of consumers don’t password-protect their mobile devices. Are you one of them?

Leaving your mobile device easy to access poses a threat to your personal data if the phone is lost or stolen.

Avoiding Malicious Apps with a Personal Firewall

Choosing a personal firewall proactively protects your devices in several ways.

A quality personal firewall can:

  • Monitor network traffic for threats by inspecting packets of data received
  • Defend against viruses by identifying thousands of new types every week
  • Prevent hackers from accessing your data through anti-fraud and anti-phishing methods
  • Adds a layer of privacy to your data by encrypting files, protecting location info, and preventing unwanted microphone access

In Summary

Malicious apps are out to steal your data.

Protect your devices with firewalls, data monitors, and strong passwords. Avoid open wifi networks and third-party app websites.

Take care in only installing trusted apps from official app stores and if something feels off about an app you’ve installed, like higher data usage or strange permissions, uninstall the app immediately to keep yourself safe from attack.


GlassWire 2.1.137 is here with dark themes and detailed host info!


GlassWire fans have been requesting a dark theme for awhile, and our dark theme for GlassWire is finally here!  Upgrade now to try this major new update.

Also, have you ever seen unusual activity from a host (IP) but you were unable to determine if it’s safe or not?  We’ve now added a cool new feature to help with this situation.  Mouse over the host you’re concerned about and a circle icon with three dots will appear.  Click that icon and choose “search online” and we show detailed information about the host including VirusTotal results and much more!

Upgrade now to try our GlassWire 2.1 update FREE.

Get GlassWire 2.1.137 Now!


GlassWire 2.0 launches today!


We’re excited to announce that GlassWire 2.0 is now available for download.  This major update is a free upgrade for 1.0 paid users, and for free users GlassWire now includes a fully unlocked free 7 day trial!

(Run into a problem with the upgrade?  Check out these tips.)

What’s new with GlassWire 2.0?

Earlier this year you may have received a survey request from us asking what you wanted from GlassWire. We went through your survey and tried to implement as many as your requests as possible, and we hope we’ve accomplished that with GlassWire 2.0.

High DPI Support – One of the top requests from users was support for high resolution DPI monitors, and GlassWire now fully supports high resolution monitors.  You can now change your monitor resolution and GlassWire itself will change sizes to support those resolutions.  GlassWire also now has excellent dual monitor support so you can drag it between multiple monitors if you choose to do so.

Data Usage Improvements – After launching our popular Android data usage app, we found a lot of our Windows users were unhappy with how GlassWire’s usage window worked.  We changed GlassWire 2.0’s usage window to better match our Android app.  Now it’s much easier to keep track of how much data your PC is using every month.  Also, if you want to track your data usage in detail go to GlassWire’s top left GlassWire menu and choose “settings” to set up a Data Alert.  GlassWire’s Data Alerts can warn you before you go over a data usage limit.


Firewall Profiles – Another request we saw was a wish for firewall profiles.  Now you can go to GlassWire’s Firewall tab and click the top middle “Firewall Profiles” down arrow.  You can now create a new firewall profile and save it.  For example if you’d like an “Ask to connect” profile for public WiFi you can now set it up and save it and switch to it when you’re not at home or work.

Firewall Improvements – Many people commented on how GlassWire’s Firewall worked, and how they wanted better compatibility with the Windows Firewall.  With GlassWire 2.0 we have made our firewall rules sync with Windows firewall, plus GlassWire can check your Windows Firewall and restore it if changes are made without your knowledge.

Security Analysis – Another top request was that people wanted to know more details about the apps that were accessing the network on their PC.  You can now go to GlassWire’s settings to turn on the VirusTotal API to analyze network-related files on your PC.


Do you have an Evil Twin lurking about? – A new type of network attack is known as an “Evil Twin” attack.  This type of attack occurs when someone sets up a new WiFi access point with a name similar to your current WiFi access point.  GlassWire watches out for these types of attacks by warning you if the Mac address of the WiFi access point you’re on changes.  Of course if you’re using something like a mesh network with repeaters you may get occasional alerts, but as GlassWire learns these new access points over time the false alerts should stop.  Also, if the WiFi access point you’re on loses its password you’ll also be alerted.

A 7 day trial – A lot of our free users asked to have a GlassWire trial of our paid features, so we have enabled a 7 day trial that starts on installation of GlassWire.  After the trial ends GlassWire’s security features and blocking reverts to its free status (similar to GlassWire 1.0’s free version).

Ready to upgrade to GlassWire 2.0?  Give it a try now!

Download GlassWire 2.0Change ListUser guide

Having technical problems?  Check out these tips in the forum.

Are we still missing some features you’re wanting?  Now that GlassWire supports high DPI we can move faster and add more features.  We’re going through your list of requests in the survey we sent and we’re implementing them as quickly as possible.

Want more features?  Let us know what you want in the comments below!

Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy GlassWire 2.0!








GlassWire for Android is here!

GlassWire for Android is now available and FREE in the Google Play store!

Millions of our GlassWire for Windows users have been asking for GlassWire on their mobile phones so they can see what their phones are doing over the network.  We worked long and hard to create this first version of GlassWire for Android that’s 100% free with no in-app purchases or ads.

Our brand new Android app lets you instantly see which apps are wasting your data, acting suspiciously, slowing your phone’s Internet speed, or causing you to go over your carrier data limits. GlassWire for Android makes it easy to keep track of your mobile carrier data usage and WiFi Internet activity.

Key features:
• See a live graph of what apps are currently using your carrier data, or slowing your Internet connection.
• Instantly know every time a new app accesses the network and begins using your data.
• Go back in time with GlassWire’s graph to see what apps wasted your data earlier in the week or month.
• GlassWire’s data alerts help keep you under your data limit. Get alerted before you reach your carrier data limit to avoid costly overage fees.
• GlassWire reveals unusual network activity from unknown apps or malware that could be violating your privacy or spying on you.
• GlassWire counts your mobile carrier data (Edge, 3G, 46, 5G, LTE, CDMA, UMTS, GSM, GPRS, mobile hotspots) and shows you detailed usage statistics on GlassWire’s “Usage” screen, along with your WiFi data. See your mobile phone provider data for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-mobile, Virgin, Vodafone, Orange, EE, 3, Swisscom, Telia, Movistar, O2, and all others.
• See data usage for different apps like Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Pokemon Go, Netflix, Youtube, Instagram, Pandora, Spotify, Pinterest, Whatsapp, Skype, Kik, and any other apps you use.

Why did we make GlassWire for Android?
We wanted an easy way to see what Android apps were using all our expensive mobile data, slowing our Internet connection, or behaving suspiciously.
Our company already makes a popular GlassWire application for Windows that helps people protect their PCs from online threats by visualizing their network activity. We wanted a similar network monitoring application for our own Android phones but we were shocked to find a lot of the data usage apps we tested sent quite a bit of data over the network themselves.
We wondered why these apps that claimed to help people stay under their data limits would send network data themselves.

Why do many free “Data Usage” apps use data themselves?
We discovered a lot of these free data usage collection apps exist solely to collect your personal app usage data to sell to advertisers or other app developers. We did not want to use a data usage app that was logging details about every app we use to share it with third parties. In what database was our private app usage data being stored, and what if that database was hacked or made public? To make matters worse, we found that at least one of these applications collected personally identifiable information.

Is your current “Data Usage” app tracking you?
Do you want your phone app usage logged in a database then linked to your identity so others can see details about how you use your phone every day? We didn’t want that either. Check the privacy policy of the data usage app you currently use by going to their Google Play app page “privacy policy”.

GlassWire is a data usage app that helps protect your privacy.
Your GlassWire data usage and app usage information never leaves your phone. We could not see or access your app usage even if we wanted to. Plus, we’re not an advertising or marketing company. We only make money through sales of premium versions of our software.

This is the first version of our mobile software and we are already working on adding new features.  Thanks for your previous support with our Windows software and we hope you’ll give our new Android app a try.

Get GlassWire for Android Now (FREE)

Sincerely, The GlassWire Team