Is it possible that Smartphone and Tablet apps are spying on you? If so, when would they do it and why? There has been $ 500 billion dollars in global banking fraud – half of which occurred online – using PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. In the USA alone there has been 930 million identity thefts, according to PrivacyRights.org.
Do you spend time on your smartphone or tablet reading through your most recent text messages, sending emails and playing some fun games like angry birds, flappy birds, candy crush or others? Ever fumble for your car keys and use that sleek flashlight app you downloaded? Do you use your mobile banking app to manage your money? Do you buy goods online with your smartphone or tablet? The big question of the day is…could any of these or other apps be spying on you? The answer is yes.
As to the most popular downloaded apps – flashlight apps have crossed the ½ BILLION download threshold – that’s a big number. When digging deep into these apps, I find many of them are creepware, more details provided here on my Flashlight Apps Threat Report.
While I don’t agree with all of their findings, that being to give an A grade to companies that simply admit they want all your data and have apps that seem to need all of your data, the permissions information they catalog at PrivacyGrade.org is excellent. Visit them here at Privacy Grades to learn about the apps you may have already installed on your smartphone or tablet. Some of the most popular apps with controversial grades include:
Let’s look at the permissions of the “Bible” app which runs on both Android and Apple iOS platforms:
Device & app history
- read sensitive log data
- find accounts on the device
- read your contacts
- approximate location (network-based)
- read call log
- read the contents of your USB storage
- modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Device ID & call information
- read phone status and identity
- receive data from Internet
- run at startup
- full network access
- control vibration
- send sticky broadcast
- view network connections
- prevent device from sleeping
Wouldn’t it make sense for a Bible app to only provide you with an easy to read copy of the Bible? Why would it need so many permissions? If you could find another bible app that uses no permissions, you should thank the author. If you have to pay a few dollars for it, it’s probably worth it – what price would you put on protecting your identity?
My Top Tips for Dealing with Creepy Apps Are:
- Uninstall all the apps you don’t use every day
- Go online and check the permissions of the apps you use every day
- If they use too many permissions, it’s probably to spy on you so delete them
- Replace Creepy apps with those you can trust based on permissions and privacy policies
- Also, check on the country of the App maker, visit their website and send their support staff an email – if you feel like it’s a shady operation, it probably is one.
Now is the time to reclaim your privacy. Start with a spring cleaning of all your apps. Also, turn off location services and don’t use public WIFI if you have a data plan. Also turnoff Bluetooth, NFC and iBeacon because they can also be used to spy on you.