Mobile Apps are Putting User Privacy at Risk – Here’s What You Can do About it
The convenience mobile devices bring can’t be disputed, as they allow us to keep in touch with friends and family, follow hobbies and interests and even conduct business on the go. But, even though mobile apps bring many advantages to the table, they also come with a lot of drawbacks many mobile users tend to forget about. In this week’s Zlog, we will discuss if mobile apps are putting user privacy at risk and what you can do to prevent this from happening to you.
Apps that put your Mobile Device at Risk
Here’s a quick rundown of the most common apps that have been found to exploit and possibly put at risk their user’s private information.
As the most widely used social media platform, Facebook is the go-to example every time there’s a conversation about online privacy. Not only is Facebook the ideal hunting ground for hackers, but the company itself also has a scandalous reputation when it comes to privacy abuses. When talking about which mobile apps are putting user privacy at risk, the Facebook mobile app pops up in particular, as it has an alarming level of control over everything that happens on your device. The app can go to messages, pictures and contacts, overrule other apps and make video and audio recordings.
Another subcategory that falls into this section are dating apps. Considering that you have to give them a ton of information just to sign up with them, sometimes dating apps seem like they’re not worth the trouble. Of course, not all dating apps operate with the sole purpose of exploiting your data, but you must always keep in mind that there are a lot of them that use your data and profile information in order to make money.
Loyalty and Service Apps
It’s a well-known fact that in today’s day and age nothing is free and that everything comes at a certain price. This goes so far that even loyalty and service mobile apps are putting user privacy at risk, by collecting their data without them even being aware of it happening. Various loyalty apps offer discounts in exchange for signing up, sharing information and using their services on a regular basis. These apps are a very efficient way for merchants to add value to their product, but at the same time are a very dangerous tool for collecting personal information.
In 2017, one of the most popular brands in the world, Starbucks, has experienced a massive privacy breach, when their careless security policy resulted in a massive hacker attack which caused their gift card users financial damage. During this event, Starbucks has also been exposed of storing highly sensitive information.
Last, but definitely not least, novelty apps like Flashlight, Sound Effects and similar are very popular among mobile users, but most of them don’t know that these apps can do a lot of harm. People who download such apps usually do it impulsively, because they feel like doing so in the moment, and usually for short-term use, before deleting them. But, even if these novelty apps stick around for just a couple of hours or days, from the moment you download them, you’re giving them full access to your contacts, emails, photos and all sorts of information they can harvest and sell to the highest bidder.
How to Keep Your Information Private
Statistically speaking, an average mobile user has around 20 mobile apps installed on their device. Whether you’re using social, business or service apps, the fact is, your information is being collected and most likely sold, and it’s on you to decide on what you want to do about it. Luckily, there are some things you can do to stop this from happening.
Always Check what the app wants to Access
Apps may use every opportunity they get to gather more data on their users, but ultimately it’s on you, as the user, to pick which apps you want to keep and use. You can check all of the apps and their access and even check on which apps have access to your Google accounts. I’ve you’re using some apps that request access to your email account, but you can’t afford to uninstall them, you can use a secondary or a fake email. That way, if your data becomes compromised, your identity will still remain private.
Use a VPN Service
A VPN is the most effective tool you can use if you want to protect your privacy and ensure your safety at all times. By using a reliable VPN service, you can rest assured that all of your data and information is encrypted and hidden away from third-parties trying to harvest and use it. With a service like ZoogVPN, you can make sure that your device is constantly protected with one of our mobile apps.