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New Apps And Circumventing The Security and Privacy Issues They Pose

22 September, 2022 Security

New Apps And Circumventing The Security and Privacy Issues They Pose

 

App development has become a massive market with almost every service or product creating its own. This can be due to an increase in the demand for smartphones and consumers needing easy access to their funds or lifestyle activities.

 

Unfortunately, the rise in smartphone use correlates with the rise in cybercrimes. Consumers may think they are downloading an entertaining game ignoring that it's compromised with malware. In what follows, we break down the most common security and data privacy issues and offer several helpful solutions.

 

Common Security Issues

Cell phone users store almost their entire life's data on their mobile devices, making sure the security has fewer vulnerabilities is an important factor.

 

Mobile application threats happen while downloading an app that may seem trustworthy, but has hidden malware. This malware is actively stealing your personal information and causing havoc on your now slowed-down, overheating device.

 

Network threats can occur while utilizing free public Wi-Fi. Hackers can create fake hotspots and wait for someone to catch the bait. Typically, they redirect the user to fake websites where they steal passwords or hack into your online banking.

 

The loss or theft of a smartphone is a physical threat as criminals can hack into the device and steal/use the information. Web-based threats easily go unnoticed because the website looks safe but using the site downloads malware onto the device.

 

Common Data Privacy Issues

Data privacy is not the same as data security. The former refers to the user's ability to access, control, and regulate their personal information.

 

As a user of the internet, you are at a high risk of having sensitive data re-shared and traded by third parties for a profit. Every time you switch on your device or do a search using a virtual assistant like Siri or Google Assistant, the device is learning more about you, the user. And, every time you accept a privacy or cookie policy, you are granting the domain permission to gather and use your details however they see fit.

 

While usually this is for marketing purposes, the fact of the matter is that your information might end in the hands of data brokers, which are companies that analyze and sell it. Therefore, your full name, physical address, credit card and debit card details, and cell phone number might be sold to health insurance companies, people search sites, banks, digital marketers, and spammers without your informed consent.

 

Preventative Measures

Keeping your device safe and your personal information private should be the responsibility of all parties involved. However, the user should take the initiative to constantly be diligent with their device use and data. Consider the following steps:

  • Creating strong passwords containing uppercase letters and numbers and updating them every couple of months.
  • Browsing encrypted websites by making sure the URL has HTTPS extension on IoS - these sites have a lock in the address bar.
  • Only downloading applications from trusted stores.
  • Alternating between different search engines to prevent Google from obtaining sensitive information about you.
  • Reading through the permissions when installing apps to understand what information you will share. Should anything seem suspicious or intrusive or makes you uncomfortable, you have the option to decline.
  • Opting out from data broker's databases. As this is a time-consuming endeavor, using data removal tools such as Incogni can carry on the process automatically. As a result, you will strengthen your protection against serious cyber threats.

Bottom Line

The facts are that there isn't a 100% secure mobile application. It's been reported that 80% of apps have vulnerabilities. Hackers and dubious entities are crafty and always on the lookout for easy targets. One thing for certain is that we need to proactively protect our personal information on all digital platforms.

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