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Are Your Apps Leaking Data? How To Know and What To Do

One of the ways we make our world more convenient these days is by loading apps from platforms, services, and companies we buy from or consult frequently. Most […]

One of the ways we make our world more convenient these days is by loading apps from platforms, services, and companies we buy from or consult frequently. Most companies have invested in their apps to make them more useful, and also invested in promoting those apps to us, with special deals or promotions. 

But the sense of ease and security we have when dealing with the teller at our local bank, or flying on our favorite airline, may not serve us well when we use an app provided by a company we know well “IRL” (in real life). 

“The widespread development of apps by businesses is not only good for marketing and sales,” remarks Emilio Simoni, Director of Research at PSafe’s dfndr lab, “but it also feeds a billion dollar business in re-use of your data.”

Data Means Dollars

Modern day operating systems for both iOs and Android provide some mechanisms for you to limit the way apps can track your behavior across the web, but these only offer limited protection. “The data you use in everyday interactions with these apps is of tremendous interest to hackers,” Simoni observes,  “and data breaches for some of the world’s biggest and most respected companies have become almost commonplace.” 

Leaked data is commonly resold or accessed on the dark web, and once procured, it can be used in a variety of ways. It’s fairly common for leaked data to be used to fuel scams that entice users to expose even more information, or, to provide direct access to financial levers.

“What users need,” Simoni explains, “is the means to see the whole picture for their apps and the data they use.  This is what we provide with dfndr security Pro: a Privacy Scan, which gives users the ability to see, in one place, a complete picture of how apps are using and sharing your data – whether voluntarily, or through leaks.”  

Here’s what that complete picture shows:

  • The data and access permissions you have granted for each app
  • Where each app sends the data it collects
  • A data breach history for each app (more than one breach is not unusual).
  • Apps you have installed that may be malicious or known to pose risks 

Obviously the first thing you can do with this information is to make judgments about which apps you want to keep – but it may also help guide you to further steps, like changing passwords, or changing settings on the app. It can also give you important information for staying aware of likely hacks or doing further research to determine precisely what sort of personal data may have been compromised.

“Getting this comprehensive picture is really the best way to see context and to stay alert and ahead of the game,” Simoni says.

Before You Load Apps

PSafe’s dfndr security Pro also includes a feature called Safe App, which enables you to evaluate apps before you load them on your phone. Safe App tells you if an app is known to be malicious, or if it has previously been breached. 

Try PSafe dfndr security for Free

The easiest way to see how both Safe App and Privacy Scans work is to try dfndr security for yourself. You can start with the Free Version of the app, which will help you manage your phone’s memory, storage, and battery power – and also give you some good basic security capabilities like a URL checker and an Antivirus App scan.

Add dfndr security Pro. and you’ll be able to do a quick Privacy Scan and see where you stand, and you can check any new apps you want to install with Safe App. You’ll also get Anti Theft functionality to locate your phone (and protect your data) if it’s stolen. 

Use this link to learn more and try out the free version of PSafe’s dfndr security.

Stay Alert

“The capabilities a good security app can provide offers essential protection,” Emilio Simoni emphasizes, “but staying alert ourselves is another key element of our overall defense.”

In addition to procuring and using a proven security solution like dfndr security Pro, Simoni suggests the following “data hygiene” habits for users:

Strong Passwords: Use a password manager and make sure you never use the same password for more than one account. 

Take Care With Social Media: Many social media accounts these days, asking questions and offering quizzes, are simply storing and selling clues to hackers. 

Beware of Phishing: Hackers are certainly not above using news about data leaks as an occasion for reaching out to defraud users. For any communications you receive about data, passwords, accounts, or any transactions you’ve made (or pines you haven’t!) — always double check the source.  

“With a good security app and the conscientious use of privacy ‘best practices,’ your use of apps can provide the convenience and ease you’ve come to expect from them,’ Simoni concludes. “We’ll continue to research viruses and hackers methods to make sure we’re doing our part to maintain our interesting-leading solutions.”