Almost half of all mobile phone users all over the world today owns a smartphone, undoubtedly the reason why mobile app usage is on the rise since they tend to make these smartphones more intelligent and these have eventually made people to become more dependent on them. Moreover, they don’t cost a thing.
As a matter of fact, mobile apps have evolved to the extent that there is practically an app for anything you can put a name on such as banking apps,game apps,weather apps,health and fitness apps, media apps, fashion apps,etc. But as technology evolves, so do viruses and they are mainly in form of malware and spyware that’s often used to steal confidential information such as bank account details and passwords.
However,living in a world where everything you need is just a click or a tap away has made people so comfortable that they don’t even bother to question the safety of these numerous apps. Of course, the apps seem to provide some potential benefits but could they in any way be endangering your privacy or even be a threat to you?
Well, the truth is privacy-invading apps are the ones dominating the landscape,some containing malware, and many leveraging ad links that can be extremely dangerous to you.
Cunningly,most of the threats of these apps are disguised in their usefulness, thereby making users to throw caution to the wind on the account that the collection and tracking of their data is vital for the mobile app’s operation.
Little do you know that your data is not as safe as it you think.
According to McAfee 2014 Mobile Security Report: 80 percent of all free mobile apps collect location information, 82 percent track something, 57 percent track when you use your phone and 36 percent know your account information. The study also found that apps are the number one source of malware for mobile devices; that the U.S. is the number two source of malicious apps; and that 26% of malicious apps collect precise GPS location, account, and activity information from your device—before sending it to untrustworthy sources.
What this means is that these apps might right now be sending your most guarded information to hackers, or other malicious sites, without you knowing and once hackers have access to your device; your passwords, credit card information, location data, and more are exposed. On Android devices, these apps can access more than 124 different permissions, including turning your camera on to recording your conversations.
How safe are we then, considering how integral all these mobile apps are to our daily activities?
What if your device is stolen or missing?
Well, that shows how vulnerable you can be but despite all, you can still protect your device and your valuable information.
Want to know how? I got it all sorted out below.
1.First of all, make sure you carry out a sound research on any app before you download it. Read reviews and ratings and choose apps that have high ratings and lots of downloads.
2.Download apps from known stores and sites.Apple and Google normally vet the apps being offered in their stores by checking for viruses or any malicious behavior. However, the ads in the mobile apps can hold security threats. A streaming ad, for example, can link to a malicious site or deliver malware to your mobile device.
3.Read the app’s fine print-permissions. Make sure it doesn’t ask to access information it shouldn’t need. Do you want to grant permission for the app to track your geographical data? Does the app really need to access your contact list and emails or to be given the ability to deploy text messages and listen to your calls through the device’s microphone? It pays to be discerning. So, read and understand the fine print. At the very least, be aware of what data you are signing away to app developers.
4.Try not to store logins on your device. If you do, have a wipe-and-lock function set up in case it is lost or stolen.
Please note that a lot of mobile app security problem are unintended but it’s increasing use has led to a significant number of vulnerabilities. This is why you must mind all the apps you download to your smartphone before they end up taking over your mind.