Cybersecurity for apps

The Dark Side of Apps’ Cybersecurity

We monitor our bank statements. We choose our banks with care and consideration. We even change our online banking password on a frequent basis.

But we also have an addiction to those gaming apps . . . which require us to give our personal and/or financial information to a random online gaming manufacturer.

We Just Don’t Think About Security On Our Phones

Applications are a major financial security concern. For some reason, many people do not consider security when they look at apps. They are thinking about the latest level of Candy Crush they want to beat, or that fitness app they want, or that they can earn points towards coupons if they download that application.

…Though We Are Concerned About Who Has Access To Our Personal Information

In the article Americans’ Attitudes About Privacy, Security and Surveillance, a survey from early 2015 found that “93% of adults say that being in control of who can get information about them is important; 74% feel this is “very important,” while 19% say it is “somewhat important.”

If this is the case, then how are we so easily convinced to give up our personal information?

So What Is It About Apps That Make Us Forget About Basic Privacy and Security?

The “now” nature of an app download enables users to get what they want when they want it. The instantaneous convenience overrides any safety concerns we had, if we had them in the first place. John Oliver, the popular comedian who hosts the show “Last Week Tonight” commented in one of his shows that “Apple could put the entire text of Mein Kampf inside the iTunes user agreement and you’d just click ‘Agree’.”

Of course, most of these apps are harmless and are not created by nefarious masterminds trying to scam you out of house and home. The local news station app does not, most likely, have vicious intentions. However, what about that local news station apps’ security levels? Most apps are not very well protected. That means that your information could be out there on a server somewhere that could be easily hacked. If your financial information is out there because you’re paying for app upgrades or something similar, your identity could be in jeopardy.

Here Are a Few Tips To Help App Users Have Control Of Their Online Information:

You Need To Care

Pick and choose who you give your information to carefully.

Be Wary Of Free Games

Very rarely is anything really “free.” Look for adware. Check to see if you will be able to earn “upgrade” vs. having to pay for them. Most smart phones are already set with “tap to pay” that will just bill the credit card on file to the appropriate app store. Do you really need that upgrade?

Check the Apps You Have Already Downloaded

Does anything stand out to you as suspicious? Uninstall the apps that scare you. Make sure to check the permissions and read more than a few reviews to get the best feel.

Don’t Wait To Delete

If you think that your financial information has been compromised, don’t wait till something terrible happens to do something about it. Many hackers and/or scammers have learned to simply monitor credit cards usages and limits, until its level of credit increases, at which point they drain the account. Don’t wait for this to happen! Applications are convenient and easy to use. But just downloading any random app, from any store, will run the risk of having some of your information fall into the Dark Side.

The Importance of Online Privacy

Daniel Solove, a research professor at George Washington University Law School, is the founder of TeachPrivacy. This company provides privacy and data security-training programs to businesses, schools, healthcare institutions, and other organizations. He penned the following paragraph in a post about the importance of privacy:

“The more someone knows about us, the more power they can have over us. Personal data is used to make very important decisions in our lives. Personal data can be used to affect our reputations; and it can be used to influence our decisions and shape our behavior. It can be used as a tool to exercise control over us. And in the wrong hands, personal data can be used to cause us great harm.”

It is vital to know what information you are giving and who you are giving it to.

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