Ask The Expert: Can I Trust Apps?
Question: Can I trust the applications that I download on my phone?
The market is flooded with apps for everything imaginable now. Apps with bad code can put the user, device, network and information stored on the device at risk. Knowing which apps you can trust depends on a few variables – most significantly, the type of device that you are using.
On Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad, apps can only be installed through the App Store. Applications available there have been vetted to ensure privacy, reliability and security. This screening process does reduce the number of apps available to users but allows for a higher standard of acceptable applications.
Android devices take a different approach and have fewer restrictions about what can be installed. Users can download from Google Play, which also vets for security, but they can also download from other sources. This gives access to more apps but puts more onus on the user to be diligent about what they are agreeing to and installing on their device.
The user is the other significant variable. In the end, it is important for you to be informed and take proper precautions.
Encrypt your device. Encryption protects the sensitive data on the phone by making files unreadable unless a code is entered. On Android, the user will need to enable encryption in their security settings. For Apple, if you have a passcode the device is automatically encrypted.
Install applications from the app store. For Android devices, only install applications from Google Play and for Apple devices, the App Store.
Research the applications. Read the fine print on the apps that you are installing.
Follow Hawk PI for more tips on ensuring your privacy. Remember, the best defense can be a strong offense.
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