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‫ Understanding Mobile Apps

 

Number:IRCAR201412245
Date: 2014-12-20
 
If you have a smart phone or other mobile device, you probably use apps – to play games, get turn-by-turn directions, access news, books, weather, and more. Easy to download and often free, mobile apps can be so much fun and so convenient that you might download them without thinking about some key considerations: what information they may gather from your device, or who gets that information.
  • Mobile App Basics
  • Questions About Your Privacy
  • Malware and Security Concerns
 
Mobile App Basics
What’s a mobile app?
A mobile app is a software program you can download and access directly using your phone or another mobile device, like a tablet or music player.
What do I need to download and use an app?
You need a smart phone or another mobile device with internet access. Not all apps work on all mobile devices. Once you buy a device, you’re committed to using the operating system and the type of apps that go with it. The Android, Apple, Microsoft and BlackBerry mobile operating systems have app stores online where you can look for, download, and install apps.
Questions About Your Privacy
What types of data can apps access?
When you sign up with an app store or download individual apps, you may be asked for permission to let them access information on your device. Some apps may be able to access:
  • your phone and email contacts
  • call logs
  • internet data
  • calendar data
  • data about the device’s location
  • the device’s unique IDs
  • information about how you use the app itself
Some apps access only the data they need to function; others access data that’s not related to the purpose of the app.
If you’re providing information when you’re using the device, someone may be collecting it – whether it’s the app developer, the app store, an advertiser, or an ad network. And if they’re collecting your data, they may share it with other companies.
How can I tell what information an app will access or share?
It’s not always easy to know what data a specific app will access, or how it will be used. Before you download an app, consider what you know about who created it and what it does. The app stores may include information about the company that developed the app, if the developer provides it. If the developer doesn’t provide contact information – like a website or an email address – the app may be less than trustworthy.
If you’re using an Android operating system, you will have an opportunity to read the “permissions” just before you install an app. Read them. Ask yourself whether the permissions make sense given the purpose of the app; for example, there’s no reason for an e-book or “wallpaper” app to read your text messages.
Malware and Security Concerns
Should I update my apps?
Your phone may indicate when updates are available for your apps. It’s a good idea to update the apps you’ve installed on your device and the device’s operating system when new versions are available. Updates often have security patches that protect your information and your device from the latest malware.
Could an app infect my phone with malware?
Some hackers have created apps that can infect phones and mobile devices with malware. If your phone sends email or text messages that you didn’t write, or installs apps that you didn’t download, you could be looking at signs of malware.
If you think you have malware on your device, or you can install a security app to scan and remove apps if it detects malware. 
Ref:
http://www.onguardonline.gov/

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