MCC Daily Tribune Archive

Using Mobile Apps Securely

Mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones have become one of the primary technologies we use in both our personal and professional lives. What makes mobile devices so versatile are the millions of apps we can choose from. These apps enable us to be more productive, instantly communicate and share with others, train and educate or just have more fun. However, with the power of all these mobile apps come risks. Here are some steps you can take to securely use and maintain your mobile apps.

Make sure you always download them from a trusted source. Cybercriminals have mastered the art on creating mobile apps that look legit. If you happen to download an infected mobile app, criminals can read your email, listen to your conversations and harvest your contact. For Apple devices use the Apple Store to purchase and download your mobile apps. Apple does a security check on both the mobile app and the author. For Android devices, use Google Play to download your mobile apps. Google Play does perform some security checks.

Avoid mobile apps that are brand new, that few people have downloaded or there are very few positive comments. If you stop using an app, remove it from your device (you can always bring it back later when you need it).

Safely configured and protect your privacy. Installing and/or configuring mobile apps often requires that you grant certain permissions. Always think before authorizing any access, “Does your app really need those permissions to do its stated job. For example, some apps use geo-location services.

Update your mobile apps in order to remain current. Criminals are constantly searching for and finding weaknesses in apps. They then develop attacks to exploit these weaknesses. The developers that created your app also create and release updates to fix these weaknesses and protect your devices. Most platforms allow you to configure your system to update mobile apps automatically. However, when your apps are updated, always make sure you verify any new permissions they might require

Donna Pogroszewski
Communications and Network Services