Just like something out of an 80’ spy movie we’re all familiar with physical smartphone security options, such as fingerprint recognition, that protect us from unwanted access to our digital lives. Should our phone be lost or stolen, we’re confident that all we need worry about is an unplanned trip to the phone shop, safe in the knowledge that at least a total stranger doesn’t have access to our stash of unfiltered selfies. But what many smartphone users are not as aware of as they should be are the risks to their security from within - in the form of their beloved apps.
7/10 apps are
sharing users’ data-
and the scary fact is
we’re allowing them
to do so.
The recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal has highlighted the need for users to ensure their personal information is secure beyond the physical world. Forbes suggests that 7/10 apps are sharing users’ data- and the scary fact is we’re allowing them to do so.
Let’s face it, when we’re impatiently waiting for the latest hyped app to download the last thing we want to do is thoroughly read the T&Cs telling us exactly what we’re allowing the app access to. A staggering 87.5% of the Top 200 apps available to download (both free and paid) exhibit at least one risky behaviour when it comes to sharing data with third-parties. We’re being out-smarted by our smartphones, or at least by the apps we’ve downloaded onto them.
Ask yourself… Does a flashlight app need access to your location to help you find your keys at the bottom of your bag? Does a dictionary app need access to your phone number to give you the definition of ‘oblivious’? Unfortunately, we can no longer trust that apps are requesting these permissions to improve their functionality, there’s now potentially something bigger at stake – Big Data.
Of course, I’m not suggesting we stop using our favourite apps, smartphones and their apps are undoubtedly indispensable tools within our day-to-day lives, but as users we need to pay more attention and make informed digital security choices – just as we do in the physical world. The moral of the story is to embrace the conveniences of the digital age, but for us all to be a little more discerning whilst doing so. Otherwise, Big Brother will likely be watching…he’ll just be disguised as an Angry Bird.
The Register: How many mobile apps collect data on users? Oh … nearly all of them
Forbes: 70% Of Mobile Apps Share Your Data With Third Parties