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My Apps Gave Up Personal Info Again

Apps provide so much fun and entertainment, but you may not know that your private data is at risk when using them.

There are many apps out there that may be giving out your personal information to third-party advertisers and maybe even to hackers. Under Armour recently announced that its fitness app, MyFitnessPal, was targeted by hackers in a data breach that compromised the information of approximately 150 million accounts. These included names, email addresses, and hashed passwords. One saving grace is no financial information was revealed.

While there’s not much you can do about data breaches that happen from the services you use, since it’s up to each company to fix these security holes, there are steps you can take to protect your phone from sharing private information with apps.

Read More: Protect Your Personal Information When Using Public Wi-Fi

Here are 4 ways you can protect yourself from getting hacked, targeted for ads, and exposing your personal data for companies to collect.

Be Vigilant With Your Apps
One of the best ways to protect your data is to audit your apps, which can help you learn which apps are connected to your social media sites. Checking your privacy settings for Facebook, Google, and Twitter can help you see which apps are linked to those accounts.

On Facebook, go to the top-right corner, hit the down arrow, click Settings and check the Apps tab. Here you can choose which apps retain access of your personal information. In Google, go to Settings and hit “Connected apps & sites,” and on Twitter, you go to “Settings and privacy” and hit the Apps page. At that point, you can minimize which apps are linked to each social account.

Delete Old Apps
If there are some old games and apps you’re no longer using that are still hanging around, make sure to delete them. By getting rid of them, these apps will not be able to collect any additional personal information about you, along with all the data stored within them.

Change Your Password Every 6 Months
Another good rule of thumb is to change your password every 6 months to keep passwords fresh and prevent hacking attacks targeted at you. If someone manages to get their hands on your hashed password, they’ll be able to use decryption methods to attain the full password. You could change your passwords more often than every 6 months, but make that the minimum amount of time to update your passwords.

Read Privacy Policies
Some apps may have lengthy privacy policies, but these are worth reading because they give you a solid idea how much data each app shares or guards. If you need to connect your personal data to the app, make sure the app comes from a reliable source and you know exactly how much information it’s gathering.