Mobile Apps Can Put You At Risk Of Identity Theft

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 6:10 pm, Posted by Absolute Destruction

If you have an Android or iPhone, then you know how easy it is to fill your smart phone with apps. When there are apps for games, social media, local takeout, banking, and countless other services, the saying “there’s an app for that” has never been more true. Going online to find whatever useful app you need is ridiculously easy, and many people click the “download” button without thinking of the consequences it can have on their privacy.

In the most well-known case last year, Facebook users were slapped with an alarming breach of security when they downloaded the social media’s messenger app. Hidden away in the lengthy terms and conditions that very few people read completely (studies say less than 10% of us read these service agreements), the app asked for permission to track how users interacted with their site. While this is not particularly unusual, acceptance of this request also gave Facebook access to data stored on the phone. Among a whole host of privacy issues, the app had access to all of each user’s personal profile information.

Considering how much you use your phone, this personal information could include your full name, your address, and passwords for several accounts. The app can also read and store information regarding future and past phone calls and your contact lists.

For the discerning smart phone user, you might have thought twice about downloading this particular app. If you think that you’re safe from other security issues, however, think again. Security flaws in operating systems pose a bigger threat. In 2012, security analysts exposed monumental flaws in popular apps such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Dropbox just to name a few. The error made authentication keys that included contact information and passwords available in unencrypted files saved to the device.

For those who know where to look for these files, it can be a simple matter to hijack this information and use your personal identity to fund their spending habits. In order to protect yourself from these issues, you can practice safe mobile behaviour. Watching what wifi you log on to, protecting your device with a complex PIN, and reading terms of service properly are just a few ways to keep you safe.

In a world when many of us update our phones with each new generation released, it’s also a good idea to safely dispose of your old devices when you’re finished with them. Throwing them out in the trash is asking for cyber thieves to find your phone and access confidential contact information. Only when your phone is completely destroyed can you guarantee the information they hold cannot be retrieved.

In a reliable process that ensures every part of your phone is permanently destroyed, our services can give you peace of mind when you upgrade to a new model. The same goes for any other electronic device that you use, as they can have sensitive documents that can be easily accessed by skilled computer technicians. Laptops, external hard drives, and CD-ROMS are just a few sources that should be permanently destroyed.

Using your phone safely by following simple checklists and reading application terms of agreement is your first step towards mobile security. Check out our website to see how you can stop cyber thieves from lifting critical information off of your old phones and devices.

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