Our phones make it possible to do nearly everything on the go. There’s an app for just about anything, easily downloadable from the app or Google Play Store. After you download an app, though, you probably don’t give it a second thought. Do you actually pay attention to what information gets collected and where it goes?

Why Securing Mobile Apps is Critical

You might not realize it, but hackers can crack into phones as easily as they do personal computers. This puts your personal information, and the information of your contacts, at risk. Unfortunately, the security methods in place designed to protect personal computers do not provide the proper protections for mobile issues, leaving mobile users particularly vulnerable.

2018 brought with it stricter privacy regulations, requiring app companies to provide new disclosures and new power to limit data storage. Despite these new regulations (put into place largely because of Facebook’s security breach), most app permissions are murky, not providing enough clear information about how your data is being collected and used. The question remains–how much user information is actually necessary?

Obviously certain apps need to rely on pieces of customer data. Uber, for example, needs to know a rider’s location. Once you grant location access, app makers are able to pull in information in addition to single location objects. This means apps can know “roughly which floor of a highrise you live on.” Scary, isn’t it?

Use Your Mobile Device More Safely

While it’s impossible to completely lock down your smartphone, there are things you cando to make your phone more secure. Never use a jailbroken device, and only purchase devices from vendors who release security patches quickly.

Another way to increase mobile security is to lock your phone, either with a pin, thumbprint or PIN. Be sure always use two-step verification for personal accounts like email. While all of this might take longer, these extra steps are critical to protecting your information.

Turn off Wi-Fi when you don’t need them–this can prevent unwanted attacks. You can also connect through a VPN to protect your data further.

Finally, when downloading apps, only use apps from the Apple store or Google Play store to ensure legitimacy. 

It’s true that no one is impervious to attacks, and while you won’t completely eliminate them, using these methods will greatly reduce your risk of a security breach. Here’s to safer browsing.