Consumer Safety Tips on Mobile Apps

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An ‘App’, in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) world, is an abbreviation for “Application.” An app is a type of software that can be installed and run on smart devices to allow you perform specific task. It provides a simple way to access content and services through smart devices using the internet.

Mobile apps are application for mobile devices. Apps have become the principal way through which users tap into the smartphone revolution. There are millions of apps on both the Apple Store and Android app stores (Google Play Store) which can be downloaded and installed on smart phones.

New apps are being developed and released and it’s often exciting to download them as soon as they are released. However, not all apps, no matter how fun, useful or appealing, can be trusted. Some can be used as traps by cybercriminals and leave devices vulnerable to be compromised by viruses and other malware, if precautions are not taken.

So, for safe download and efficient use of mobile apps, below are what you should bear in mind before installing any mobile app on your device:

  1. Download apps from official or recognised app stores or stick to the default source of apps for the device.
  2. Find out adequate information about an app and check for credible reviews before downloading.
  3. Regularly update the operating system of the device with the latest software.
  4. Check out apps’ permission and privacy policy – read access request carefully before allowing apps to use your information.
  5. Look out for apps’ content ratings to ascertain its appropriateness.
  6. Review your privacy settings after downloading to ensure it suits your needs.
  7. Close or Log out of all apps after use and protect your phone with strong password.
  8. Delete unused apps to free space and enhance device performance.
  9. Erase apps and personal information on old phone before resell, recycle or donating the device.
  10. Be careful when redirected to mirror site. Mirror site pushes down malware in addition to the software intended for download.
  11. Don’t delay updates and security patches for too long. They often contain important fixes that take care of security holes.
  12. Be mindful of downloading free apps, lest you might be giving out your personal data.

Reference:

  1. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/safety-and-security/using-apps-safely-and-securely
  2. https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/blg/pst-20160429-en.aspx:
  3. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0018-understanding-mobile-apps
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