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Your Favorite Apps Are Jeopardizing Your Security

Dollarphotoclub_72004085-300x225Digital and mobile security issues have come to the forefront of most people’s minds in recent years. As we learn of hackers tapping into the databases of major corporations and tapping into users’ personal information through social media, a newer and somewhat more alarming trend has arisen regarding the security of the data we store on our mobile devices. The scary truth is that even the most seemingly innocuous apps may have more access to your information than you’d think.

Reading the terms of use and permissions of the apps you install can produce some frightening results. In particular, users have recently discovered the Starbucks mobile app, which allows caffeine enthusiasts everywhere to order their favorite lattes and receive valuable coupons, requires access to your location, your personal information, the info of some of your contacts, and–believe it or not–has the ability to “modify or delete the contents of your USB storage,” including pictures, notes, and so on.

Starbucks isn’t the only company with an app that invades so much of your mobile information. Taco Bell, Chipotle, Domino’s, and Dunkin Donuts are just a few of the many apps that have similar terms and conditions. Still, with a little knowledge and some common sense, you shouldn’t have to forego your foodie fix on the go. Here are a few tips to help keep your mobile devices secure.

Apple users: The “Don’t Allow” button is your best friend. When an iPhone user installs an app on his or her phone, a dialogue will pop up with each security request. One of the options for each of those requests is “Don’t Allow,” and we recommend that you use it. This will block camera, contact, and location access, as applicable. Not sure what you’ve already “Allow”ed? You can check through your security settings.

Android users: Your app security boost is coming this fall. Unfortunately, Android phones don’t have the same option to deny or allow measures, but this fall, Google will be introducing a similar feature. As an app requires access to outside features like your texts or your camera, you will have the option to deny such access if you choose.

Keep an eye out for “https” while browsing the web. One little letter can make a big difference. The “s” at the end of “https” indicates additional security measures on the site. This is especially worthy of note if you’re shopping on your mobile device.

Don’t allow your phone to automatically connect to Wi-Fi. Some phones will automatically connect to Wi-Fi when you’re in the right location. If possible, turn off this setting; by doing so, you’ll help to prevent your phone from transmitting and receiving information without your knowledge.

Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to go through your security settings and take a look at what allowances you’ve already made just to ensure no unauthorized information is coming or going. If you’d like to learn more or you need professional assistance in keeping your smartphone secure, contact Firewall Computer Services at (407) 647-3430 today.