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What Your Apps Know About You.

In a world where mobile security is becoming more and more important, it’s important to know what apps we install on our mobile devices can say about us. According to stats calculated by Appthority, more than 79% of all apps have hidden behaviors. As if that wasn’t bad enough, about 70% of these apps use unencrypted network services. This could mean that our there on the internet are huge amounts of personal data from people all over the globe waiting to be found.

“More than 79% of all apps have hidden behaviors”

Everything that is unencrypted

What does this mean?

Well it basically means that apps will store your data in simple text. Let’s say your password for Facebook is long and complicated, this will mean nothing if the app saves it plain text for anyone to see.  When an app uses unencrypted services, anything you enter on it can be found by someone inside your network in simple characters. From passwords, to bank accounts and any other type of data you enter on the app.

Read Also: Keeping Your Device Clean And Virus Free

This was a problem with both the WhatsApp and Facebook app. In WhatsApp not only was your data up for grabs, but so were all your conversations. This problem was solved last year, so think of all that time you used it.

Next time you download an app, check its encryption services, after all you don’t want all your data out there, do you?

Your location

Many apps out there need to know your permission in order to offer you better services. Such as traffic and mapping apps (think Google Maps or Waze) or even dating apps like Tinder. However, many other ones ask for permission to use your location, this is because they pass it on to their advertisers. It may be for the sole purpose of knowing what crowd over the globe you are reaching whenever you advertise on said app, but this is not necessarily true.

Unfortunately, this is almost always a package deal. Either you’re on board with apps having your location or you can’t install it at all. Our recommendation is you assess whether this app will be truly valuable to you.

All your media files

Another common permission request among apps is to have access to your gallery, microphone and camera. This could be as risky and all of the above. It allows apps to have an entrance to your media files and then, be allowed to share them on the internet or even delete them from your device. These could be:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Voice recording
  • Any other type of media file

Read Also: Top Public Wi Fi Risks and How to Prevent Them

It may also seem a bit fictional to spy on someone through the camera or microphone on their phone or computer, but this access will actually make it possible to do so. These apps could be able to remotely access your camera and take unwanted pictures or open your microphone and record your conversations without your even knowing. While all of this could sound crazy and paranoid, that fact is that it can happen, and hey a little precaution never hurt anybody.

Phone and contacts

Just like with your media files, this could potentially be very annoying and intrusive. When apps have access to your contacts, this can be used to send them information through you, whether it is malicious or not. Even more so, when they have permission to enter your phone, it can be even be used to secretly call paid numbers or undesirables.

Don’t be the person who lets outsiders get data from all your friends by using you as an address book and be careful with what you download.

Storage

This is basically an enhanced version of access to your media files. If an internet enabled application can access your data, it can upload private information to a website. Dangerous as it may sound, most apps require access to storage nowadays so that they can save their own data.

Payment Information

Probably one of the scariest things to have in public knowledge. Many apps require for some type of payment, for extra features or just to remove adds. The thing is not all, like covered previously, are good at encrypting data and might release it every time you make a purchase. On the other hand, it could also mean that these apps save your data and make purchasing easy for anyone using your device. Which is why all over the world parents have found hundreds of dollars spent in the app stores by their children, leading up to lawsuits against companies like Apple becoming successful and having to settle for over $35 million.

After reading this article you might want to uninstall all of your apps and become untrustworthy about downloading new ones. The truth is you just have to be careful about the developers from whom you are downloading. Trusting only the one with a good reputation or that have good reviews. On the other hand, you can also learn about permissions and access, giving you the upper hand when it comes to this.

There are also security apps for encrypting your files, such as MobileIron or airwatch. These will make downloading and using apps much safer. In the end, being safe is as important now as it has always been, just that now there are many more ways of having undesirables reach you and this calls for attention.