Lurking Danger: Is your mobile snooping on you?

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New Delhi | Published: August 2, 2018 12:13:37 AM

There are rising concerns among consumers about just how much of their internet activity is being watched, or whether they are traceable through their online footprint.

Kaspersky Lab

The monitoring capabilities of mobile apps are becoming a concern, with users worried that the apps on their connected devices might be able track them down, watch what they are doing, or share their data. But these dangers could be easily averted by putting some simple security measures in place, warns cybersecurity experts from Kaspersky Lab.

There are rising concerns among consumers about just how much of their internet activity is being watched, or whether they are traceable through their online footprint. Kaspersky Lab has found, for example, that 61% of people are uncomfortable about sharing their location information with websites and applications – a figure that has risen from 39 % in 2016.

Furthermore, around half (56%) are very concerned that someone can see everything they do or watch on their device and a similar figure (50%) fear that someone could track them down using geolocation information from their device.

These concerns are well-founded. Kaspersky Lab experts have found that apps can not only access a huge amount of data (such as where users are, information about their contacts, activities), but they also often work in the background without users knowing. The study says that 83% of Android apps have access to their owners’ sensitive data, and 96% of Android apps can launch without consent.

Nevertheless, worries about this access can be averted with some simple security measures.

But people are avoiding the data safety or privacy measures that could help put their minds at ease—for example, about half of the respondents (47%) admit they don’t check the permissions of their preinstalled mobile apps on their Android and iOS devices, and one-in-five (21%) don’t check permissions when downloading or installing new apps onto their mobile devices. Because of this, mobile users are increasingly concerned, but remain unprotected from potential data leakage.

Dmitry Aleshin, vice president for product marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “Apps have become an important part of our day-to-day lives. We use them for everything—from editing photos to updating our social media accounts, or from playing games to booking a table at a restaurant. But this research shows that despite our love for apps, we don’t necessarily trust them.”

According to Aleshin, while people are certainly becoming more switched on about their apps tracking their online activity, they aren’t necessarily putting measures in place to protect themselves from any potential problems. “That’s where we can help give users peace of mind. Our products are designed specifically to help people get on with their digital lives—and enjoy all the Internet has to offer without having to worry.”

Kaspersky Lab can protect users from unwanted mobile app activity. For example, Kaspersky Internet Security for Android protects users’ mobile devices from potentially harmful mobile apps which can access personal data for malicious purposes. In addition, Kaspersky Battery Life analyses all applications on the user’s device and identifies those that are working in the background and consuming device energy, allowing users to stop these “battery gluttons” with one touch.

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