Want to try that free game or app but it looks just a little bit spammy? Installing something from an untrusted marketplace? Pretty sure you’re about to install a virus on your system? Virtualize it.
This works on Windows, Android, probably Mac has a free option as well but I’m not in front of one and it’s not really my area.
If you’re on Windows 10 pro or enterprise, you’ve got Sandbox built in and free. You can test out that game your friend just randomly DMed you about on Facebook at 3am saying “look to here to download a fun app!”. When you’re done and infected, close the sandbox, and like kitty litter being dumped in a pothole it will be gone.
Assuming you’re not on Pro, you can download VirtualBox, VMWare Player, Hyper-V, or any of a host of free applications that can let you test something interesting out without risking getting all of your files ransomware encrypted.
If you’re on Android with a reasonably speed phone, you can get an app like VMOS which allows you to run a virtual Android device on your Android device.
A Virtual Android device can be walled off, forced to use a VPN, use a different account (such as if you need to have a work and a home phone,) and ported from phone to phone as a simple file an app install.
Evidently it’s used for cheaters a lot as well… so be on the lookout.
Alternately, keep a burner device that has no account information on it and install to your heart’s content, factory reset, and move on regularly.
Yeah, things can theoretically escape. Virtualization, especially when you’re not paying for it, well, you get what you pay for. But chances are you’re just interested in playing something spammy looking, and those generally don’t have NSA-level VM escaping code.
But if you’re wanting to feel free with your device, virtualize something, try something out that could break it, when it does, unbreak it.