New Study Shows Your Apps Could Be Putting Your Personal Information At Risk



A recent study by Cloudlock, a cyber security company, revealed several popular apps that could allow hackers an easy gateway to access your personal information. 

Key findings from the report are:

  • 27% of apps connected to corporate environments are high risk

  • There has been a 30x increase in connected third-party apps in just two years

  • More than half of third-party apps are banned due to security-related concerns

If you have policy allowing BYOD, we highly recommend heading over to CloudLock and reading their full report that goes into great detail which apps are asking for excessive access to confidential data.

ABC Action News interviewed KnowBe4 CEO and Founder Stu Sjouwerman regarding the security implications of 3rd party apps on smartphones.

"I was surprised that 27 percent of apps are dangerous to run, that's a lot," said Sjouwerman.

"It's your own identity, it's your financial records, confidential files, that sort of thing that could be stolen. It's obviously not something you want to have done," he said.

Some of the popular apps mentioned as being risky were Madden NFL Mobile, SoundCloud, AirBnB and Pinterest, to name a few. These apps access your personal information from your phone and/or computer then sell it to third parties During the process savvy hackers can intercept the information to easily craft an attack by social engineering users with exposed information. This is why it's more important than ever to keep yourself informed about security threats before it's too late.

"There's one big kind of rule you almost have to think with and that is if you don't pay for the product, you are the product," Sjouwerman warned. 

Check security and privacy settings on your apps, a lot of times you can restrict the information they can access.  It's always a good idea to look at the privacy policy before installing any third party app. If you are uncomfortable with the amount of information being accessed, you may want to consider deleting those apps that don't give you control over how much information is shared. 

There was a university study published last year by researchers from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University on personal data sharing to third parties by mobile apps. The interactive data allows you to look up specific apps on both Android and iOS, what information they share and who they share it with. 

They tested 110 popular apps to analyze ones that share personal, behavioral, and location data with third parties. What they found was alarming:

  • 73% of Android apps shared personal information such as email address with third parties, and 47% of iOS apps shared geo-coordinates and other location data with third parties
  • 93% of Android apps tested connected to a mysterious domain, safemovedm.com, likely due to a background process of the Android phone
  • We show that a significant proportion of apps share data from user inputs such as personal information or search terms with third parties without Android or iOS requiring a notification to the user

 Make sure you are checking your security settings and staying safe out there!

 

Topics: Social Engineering, IT Security

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