Mobile applications these days have become an inseparable part of our lives. From ordering food to booking cabs, making payments to online shopping, social media to basic news applications, video to music streaming applications. We have practically become dependent on these applications. Imagine going a day without using any one of them.
How does it feel?
Well, apparently our life will come to a cease.
Having said so, we have made a very strong point that these mobile applications are as much a part of our lives as any other things. In fact, these applications know information about us to the finest details. Beginning from our address, contact and payment details to our tastes and choices, we confide everything in these apps. Now, imagine if any other third party is having access to all this data. How terrifying would that be!
This takes us back to the recent privacy data breach that Facebook had. It was such a bizarre and made people question the safety and security of these apps.
Keeping that in mind, here we are going to share a few privacy safety tips with you to keep your personal data and information safe while using different mobile applications.
Download apps only from Google and Apple Play store.
Now, this does not mean that all the applications on these stores are 100% safe and secure. No app can come with this guarantee but still the applications on the google and apple store meet certain safety and security guidelines which gives them an extra benefit of the doubt.
But if you go for download from a third party source, you can be guaranteed this security from malware. These apps have a higher possibility of spam or malicious code and are highly vulnerable to ransomware, malware, spyware and Trojan viruses.
So, if you are using an Android phone, disable the “Unknown Sources” option under your phone’s security settings to keep your personal data and stuff safe from malware applications.
Give limited information access to your applications
Well, it is practically impossible to use a mobile application without sharing certain details about you. Typically, that includes Saved files, GPS, personal information like age, gender, contact details like email id and phone number and payment details too. But that does not mean you have to give them access to each and every information they ask for.
Yes, here you have been very mindful of your application use and act smart while allowing it all such accesses. This means that you have to act a little rational and logical and give the application access to only that much information which it requires for its basic functioning.
Now, suppose you download a weight loss diet application, do you think it needs to know about your location and address? Or will a pocket calculator app need to know about your payment details?
Well, that is the kind of logic we are talking about it. Think and act logically and you do not agree to every app’s access terms. Many applications sell your personal information to advertisers and make money from there.
So, if you think the application is asking for more access than it should, then you better switch to some other application which serves the same purpose.
Also, keep a check on your phone’s battery after you install a new app. If you feel, the battery is draining more than usual that there is some room for doubt. It could mean the application is running in the background and doing some illicit activities. So, better get rid of that app and install another at its place.
Secure it with some Firewall apps
While we spend thousands on keeping our PCs secure from data and malware threats, we do nothing about our phones. Aren’t we doing almost the same thing on our phones, using extensive internet and downloading stuff? So why you leave your phone unprotected? The phone is as much vulnerable to malware threat, data breach and virus and needs as much security.
It doesn’t matter what operating system your mobile device runs on, you will definitely need to download an anti-virus, anti-malware apps and Firewall apps. They come specifically for every device and operating system and will keep your data and privacy absolutely secure.
Secure your phone with a strong password
Is it about your ease or comfort more or about safety? You cannot just get away with easy typed cliché passwords. Those are like an invitation for hackers to break in your applications and compromise with data privacy.
So, while you are securing these applications and your device with a password make sure it is actually strong and not vulnerable to threats.
So, there are certain points you should consider while setting a strong and unbreakable password which includes:
- Definitely not using numbers and alphabets in sequential order.
- Using your personal information like your parent’s name, pet’s name, school name or nickname as the password (which would be very easy to guess).
- Use random strings of characters.
- avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
- Set a different, complex and hard-to-crack password for each one of your accounts.
- Use series of letters, numbers and symbols in no particular order.
- Make sure your password passes all tests of strength which includes safety from the brute force attack, a systematic onslaught of guesses by a hacker.
Also, do not be scared of setting hard and strong passwords because they are easier to remember. You can also use a password manager to keep all your passwords in one encrypted and password-protected app.
Get a VPN app installed in your device
To avoid that from happening, make sure that you use a virtual private network (VPN) when you’re on public wi-fi. It is very important to keep your data safe. This VPN can mask your data transmissions, avoid unauthorized breaking in.
But it is important that you research the company, to read through the service agreement and understand its policy first before getting the VPN installed.
There are hundreds of VPN security apps on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store but all come with their own set of restrictions and practices. So, make sure you have complete information about the one you are installing.
Study the parent company before downloading the app
There are hundreds of applications, on the app store and you cannot just tell which one hides malicious intent just from the face value of it. An app may be seemingly working well and serving its purpose but there is no telling of the fact that what it does in the background. So, what is important here is to do a brief study about the parent company first before downloading an application.
Just google about it and see what all can you know> including the parent company, where it is based, any previous data breach scandal or any other fiasco it has faced. All this information could tell you a lot about the application.
Update your software quite often
There are different methods of hacking and data breach evolving and with that, the security methods have to evolve too.
So, make sure you find some time to update your smartphone’ Operating system as it helps in keeping your device and data safer. This way it is kept safer from hackers and other malware threats.
There is no way we can just stop using these mobile applications, they have added ease and comfort to our life like never before. But we can surely act a little proactive and prevent any data breach or our privacy from being compromised by making sure we use all the above-mentioned tips.