We often see news about people losing their precious data from a data breach – and apps can be a part of the problem. There are apps that have been unmasked as malware, and they also commit click fraud to sell the data to third parties. Android has the most number of smartphone market share with 85.9%, this means Android users are the most vulnerable to attacks, and they need their device to be protected.
Unfortunately, there is no way where you can tell an app by the face that it has malware or has any evil motives. An app that behaves well today might turn bad; it depends on the company that’s behind it.
We reached out to the data privacy experts to find an answer about how an android user can protect his data, and they responded with these 5 suggestions.
1. Be Mindful when Giving App Permission
The experts stressed on the fact that whenever you agree to give app permissions, double check which permissions it is asking for.
If an app asks permission about your contact list, pictures, and your GPS location, then you can assume that it might use your data. Always check what permissions the app demands before installation, and make sure you revoke as many permission as possible when tuning your device settings.
One another way of identifying if an app is vulnerable is by identifying if the app has any use of certain permission. For instance, if you are downloading an app for simple pocket calculation and the app is requesting to access your contact list, then it is our recommendation not to download the app, it sounds fishy.
Sophos, a digital security firm released a list of two dozen apps last year that were found conducting a click fraud and were draining the battery life of the device.
2. Use a Password Manager
It is considered a cliche but having a strong password can help to keep your data safe. Some people consider replacing letters with symbols and number, but this trick is not enough to withstand a brute force attack by a hacker.
The strongest passwords consist up of a random string of characters. They can include a series of letters, numbers, and symbols in no particular order. Just make sure that whatever you put as your password is less likely to be found in a dictionary. The only downside of such complex passwords is that they are harder to remember.
You can consider using a password manager that keeps your entire password in a single encrypted protected app. They also generate new passwords and remember them for your ease.
It is also recommended not to use the same password for multiple accounts. This is because if a single account gets breached then all your account with the same passwords will be compromised. If you opt for a password manager, then all your passwords will be different and will be a hard nut to crack.
3. Limit the Social Media Exposure
Social media are the most used apps on phones. Thus this tip might get a little difficult for all of you to implement.
The Facebook Cambridge Analytica data scandal was an eye opener for many; it showed how people having a Facebook account has no control over their privacy on the social site. People who’ve never been into Facebook addiction are also affected one way or the other.
It is wise to limit the use of social platforms as the amount of information you share on social networks is equal to the amount of information you expose to the advertisements. This does not mean we discourage using the social network, but rather suggest fill in the absolute minimum information to make a profile.
Smartphone apps for social media are highly concerning as most of them need access to the microphone for the targeted ads. Never forget, the more you expose yourself on the social platform, the increased the risks of losing your data in a data breach.
4. Only Download from Google Play Store
Although not all apps on the Google Play Store are 100% trustworthy, experts say that it is best to download from it as Google itself is a reliable source.
CEO of Cardswitcher Stephen Hart was quoted saying in an interview that “Apps on trusted sources like Google play store and Apple’s App Store have been vetted to meet quality standards of data protection.”
Never download an app from less reputed source as it increases the risk to your device and privacy. Apps that are downloaded from such sources often contain malware and Trojan viruses. In worst cases, these apps can lead hackers to take full control of the device.
Since Google Play Store has relaxed developer restrictions as compared to Apple, the possibility of spam or malicious apps is more for Android users.
5. Use A VPN on Public Wi-Fi
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in handy especially if you are concerned about your online privacy and security. VPNs are made to stop snoopers breaching in your device. They can also mask your internet activity and can also avoid censorship and restriction imposed in some regions.
Regardless of how frequent you wish to use a VPN, it is important to know what services they offer and will they leak your data. Here is a list of best VPNs for Android that might come in handy when choosing the VPN for your device.
Many users have fallen prey to data breaches and since smartphone users are surpassing desktop users they are more vulnerable. It is advised to take every proactive measure to safeguard privacy just like some mentioned above.
I believe in all of them
1. I never give unnecessary permissions to apps
2. I like LikePass as the password manager
3. I rarely use social media
4. I never download any app other than Google Play Store
5. I use Ivacy VPN
One thing that I guess is missed in this article is the use of a VPN. I always use a VPN to keep my phone safe from the malware that sells users data to advertisers
I never had any issues with my security, maybe because I am always using a Surfshark app on my devices? For example, my friend a few months ago got a message, that someone is trying to use his email to log in some random pages. So I think, he was hacked, that is why VPN is always a must.