Download as many apps as possible but scrutinise access

Considering how easy it is to access a large number of new applications, we ought to be extra vigilant while installing them.

Download as many apps as possible but scrutinise access

We ought to be extra vigilant while installing apps. FILE PHOTO | NMG

These past few weeks, we have experienced a growing international uproar over the questionable sharing of personal data of 50 million Facebook profiles with a third party company. Today, data mining corporations, political operatives and others seek data everywhere, hoping to turn that information to their own advantage. As Cambridge Analytica’s actions revealed, those groups will use data for startling purposes. As we advance in technology and new things come into play, ease of access to new digital services that make our life easier. However, the questions of security become a concern at this point.

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How many times do you click accept while installing an app without necessarily considering what kind of access the app will have on your device?What kind/how much information do you provide when subscribing to a particular service? It seems that every app wants something or some information from the user. Since most users have the attention span of a tweet and do not read the permissions, they are not sure what information is being collected or how it is being used.Considering how easy it is to access a large number of new applications, we ought to be extra vigilant while installing them. From experience,an app can embed itself on an operating system and begin sending adverts even when no application is running.Giving access to such apps poses a serious threat to the user when it tricks them into giving it permissions it does not need to do its job, hides malicious code behind legitimate permissions, entering in personal information or sensitive data (such as a credit card number).When we talk about access to your financial data, then it becomes more critical to the kind of exposure you are giving. Some applications may be able to collect all the text you type, including your personal data such as your passwords and credit card numbers. You expose that information to an app that is not in any way related to your banking transactions. With that kind of information, the malicious developers can access it and use it to drain your account.It is not only the financial data which is at risk. Research says that in every five people, two have experienced identity theft. How important is your identity? We all have some apps whereby it can access info about who you are and once you combine all this, someone else can use that info to impersonate you and commit some fraudulent acts. Despite all this, people have regularly, and willingly, revealed details about themselves in the name of security, convenience, health, social connection and self-knowledge.

So, how do you protect yourself as a user? Even though we may argue that there is no full-proof way to avoid all bad situations, but a few good habits can keep you safe and protect your personal data. The best defence is awareness and diligence like adopting a habit of scanning permissions used by apps and deciding whether they make sense before granting them access.Other options that will help you decide if to install an app is reading the comments in the review section, checking the app rating and checking the developer’s site to make sure it is genuine.

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