Many people don't think twice about downloading phone applications, whether to play a game, deposit checks or keep in touch with friends and family. But before you install another app, read these downloading safety tips.
What's at risk?
Apps often ask for access to your personal information before you can open them. This information can include but isn't limited to:
- Your contacts and call logs
- Calendar appointments
- GPS location
- Your phone's unique ID
- Internet data
- Don't download just any app. Ensure you're downloading phone applications from reputable, trusted sources. Your best bet is your smartphone's official app store.
- Watch out for fake apps. Copycat apps are disguised to look like the real thing. You can tell them apart by checking developer names and reviews.
- Review the app permissions. Verify that phone applications won't access unnecessary information. For example, it makes sense that a social networking app would want access to your phone contacts, but a game app shouldn't need access to your text messages.
- Beware of "free" apps. Free apps or games are sometimes supported by advertisements, which could collect your personal information and sell it to third parties.
- Close or log out of phone applications when you aren't using them. This will prevent apps from accessing your information.
- Don't share passwords with your children so they can't accidentally download malicious programs.
Make sure your phone has a remote lock or wipe function in case it is lost or stolen. Thieves are less likely to steal personal information from a locked phone.
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