Dos and Don’ts to follow while downloading and using apps

By November 4, 2020 TechEasy

Sourced with thanks from businessnewsdaily.com

Smartphones have become an integral part of almost everybody. Whether it’s in helping you tackle daily tasks or gather relevant information or stay in touch in your social circle or just to pass time. All this has been made possible in large part to apps. The apps that you download are what makes your phone unique to you. With apps being so critical, it’s important that you take care while downloading and further managing those apps to avoid any data or information getting compromised. Check out these easy to follow tips that the author has collated in the article below. Team RetyrSmart

Dos and Don’ts to follow while downloading and using apps

To help you keep your private data safe, we spoke with security experts about the steps you can take to make sure the information on your phone data isn’t vulnerable – whether you’re connected to your small business’s network or just watching cat videos.

  1. Keep apps updated.

The easiest thing you can do to protect your smartphone from intrusion is to make sure that the application you’re using is the latest version. Nearly every phone on the market has the ability to constantly check that installed apps are up to date.

While it’s easy to just set up your phone to automatically update apps, sometimes you need to grant it permission to download an update. This usually happens when the download is particularly large or the app needs special permissions to access parts of your phone.

Similarly, you should always download and install updates to the phone’s operating system. Not doing so could leave discovered vulnerabilities wide open at the system level.

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  1. Only install apps from official sources.

In addition to keeping apps updated, it’s important to only download apps from official sources. Whether you have an Android, Apple or some other kind of mobile device, each has an official app store that requires certain safeguards before an app can be sold on its storefront.

While nearly all phones can let you download and install applications from third-party locations (after you change a few security settings), cybersecurity experts emphatically warn against doing so.

“Applications from unofficial sources do not undergo the verification procedure, and therefore, the chances are much higher than you will encounter malware that can attack programs on the device,” said Leigh-Anne Galloway, a cybersecurity resilience lead at Positive Technologies.

Downloading from the App Store or Google Play Store may be a safe bet most of the time, but Galloway also cautions against getting complacent, as malicious apps can sometimes slip through the cracks. One way to counter that issue, she said, is to pay attention to who made the app in the first place.

“If the developer has created other apps with suspicious names, such as Wi-Fi Booster, Easy Root or Funny Videos, then it might not be a trustworthy one,” she said. “You can also check reviews online of the application before installation. If you see the app was mentioned as suspicious by even one user, don’t install it.”

  1. Pay attention when granting permissions.

When downloading an app, it’s likely you’ve just accepted any and all permissions it requested so you could get it running as soon as possible. Like the end-user agreements that we’re all guilty of paging through without reading, app permissions are very important but largely ignored.

Experts say blindly accepting app permissions can leave you extra vulnerable, as apps can gain access to your device’s camera, microphone, contact list or other sensitive areas of your phone.

While you’re likely to have lackadaisically granted permissions in the past, the good news is you can go back and fix your mistakes. Depending on the version of Android your device uses, it can be as simple as finding the application manager and changing the privacy settings. Likewise, Apple users can go into the device’s settings, tap Privacy and make changes to any previously granted permissions.

  1. Practice good password hygiene.

Since most services require you to log in before using them, it’s imperative that your passwords are secure. There are many ways to create stronger passwords. Take this step seriously, since more than 80% of breaches can be traced to poor passwords.

One simple way to make sure you’re secure is to download and use a trusted password management app. These often come with tools to generate unique, high-strength passwords. The benefit to using a password manager like LastPass or 1Password is that they also remember those passwords for you, so the long, jumbled alphabet soup that is your new Google password can be easily stored, recalled and used.

You should avoid using the same password for everything you do on the internet. That way, if one service is compromised, the rest of your services are still safe. It is also a good practice to change your passwords regularly.

Two-factor identification is a great way to ensure your accounts are secure. Rather than relying on a single password to verify that you’re the right user, some apps ask you to enter a passcode that was either emailed or texted to you, while others will have an automated service call to confirm your identity. If your phone allows for it, fingerprint scanners can also be a form of identification. The more hurdles between your data and a digital attacker, the better.

  1. Be careful when using public Wi-Fi.

Free public Wi-Fi can be convenient to have access to when you need it, but you should know the risks going in. Since the Wi-Fi network is open to everybody, there’s no secure way of using the service. With zero encryption, anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled device can see what everyone is doing.

One way to counter this is to use a VPN, or virtual private network. While VPN services charge a monthly fee, they work by obfuscating your traffic on the web. As a result, to someone monitoring traffic on a public Wi-Fi hotspot, what would normally show up as readable data would show up as encrypted data.

Ultimately, the best way to keep your sensitive data secure from public Wi-Fi is to not connect to the service at all.

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