Is it safe to use mobile apps? What should you be on the lookout for, to make sure the apps you use are private and secure? Join us as we examine the risks and benefits of using your favorite mobile apps, along with whether (or not) your data is safe!
This Is Typically How It Works
You download a hot new app that you heard about while using social media, reading an online article, through a person on a dating app such as Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble, or through a friend. If you’re like most people, you chose the app as it was low cost or free. The risk seemed low especially since you downloaded it securely through the App Store or Google Play. For secure login, you may even have synced the app with your Facebook account.
Perhaps you used a jailbroken device but made sure to research user comments about the app, before proceeding. However, even if you routinely follow the above steps, there are still inherent data dangers and privacy concerns associated with apps. While it is (generally) safer using an app than it is to access sites through the open web, you still need to be aware of the following:
How to Be Safe Using Mobile Apps
Watch for In-App Purchases: One risk is when you or your family members use the app with ‘in-app’ purchases. These apps can end up with extensive charges being billed to the card you have on file within your Google Play/App Store.
This is particularly true for gaming and children’s apps when manufacturers know that impulsive purchases might be tempting. Check your settings and make sure that a password is required for all downloads and purchases. This will help prevent unauthorized transactions.
Turn off Your Location and Photos (unless mandatory): Unless you’re going to be regularly using the app for photo or location sharing, don’t allow the app to access data without your consent or intentional awareness.
Update Apps: Regularly update apps when it is recommended. This will help with security, as apps and companies patrol their diagnostics and scan for hackers and vulnerabilities.
Financial Apps: Financial apps are about as safe as any other apps, but since your most private data is used, be careful. Do not access your banking information on shared computers/devices, or when using public WiFi or hotspots. Make sure that you enter your log-in details each time, instead of saving your information.
Phishing Emails: When you use an app or website, there are times when hackers get a hold of customer or client information (on the dark web, or even by sending the same email to everyone then seeing who takes the bait). If you receive an email from the company, verify the actual “reply to” email address, not just the name shown.
Also, look at the “hyperlink,” or the web address is shown underneath links in the email (to see if it is legit). Scammers sometimes make duplicate sites that look the same, but have a different web URL!
Fraudulent Phone Calls: Similar to phishing emails, if someone calls you from the “app” and says they are a representative from the company beware. Ask for a call back number, then search Social Catfish to see if that number matches the company’s real information!
Regardless of whether or not an app or email is secure, avoid sharing your log-in or password with anyone or on shared devices. If you do link your apps with your Facebook account, stay aware of the data that Facebook shares with others.
Curious what hackers might know about you already and use to hack into your accounts? Do a self-check of your details at Social Catfish: