Kaspersky Lab’s “Are you cyber savvy?” Quiz, which questioned more than 18,000 consumers about their online habits, found that an alarming number of consumers are leaving their privacy – and the data on their phones – exposed to cyber-threats because they are not installing apps on their devices safely.
When users neglect to read license agreements or messages during the app install process, they do not know what they are agreeing to. Some apps can affect user privacy, prompt the installation of other apps, or even change the OS settings of a device completely legally, because the user has ‘agreed’ to it during the installation process.
The quiz also discovered that just under half (43 per cent) of users could be at risk from the apps on their mobile device because they are not ‘cyber-savvy’ enough to limit app permissions when installing apps. 15 per cent of quiz respondents do not limit what their apps can do on their phone at all and 17 per cent give apps permissions when prompted, but then forget about it, while eleven per cent think they can’t change those permissions. When app permissions are left unchecked, it is possible – and legal – for apps to access the personal and private data on mobile devices, from contact information, to photos and location data.
Commenting on the findings, David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab says,
“Internet users are entrusting their devices with sensitive information about themselves and others, such as contacts, private messaging etc., yet they are failing to ensure their information is entirely safe. This can turn their devices into their ‘digital frenemies’. Because they are not taking precautions when they install apps, many consumers are granting apps permission to intrude on their private lives, watch what is stored on their devices and where they are, install additional unwanted apps and make changes to their devices right from the moment of installation. At Kaspersky Lab, we want to help consumers become more cyber-savvy and protect their precious data – and themselves – from these dangers.”
To protect themselves consumers should:
– Only download apps from trusted sources;
– Select the apps you wish to install on your device wisely;
– Read the license agreement carefully during the installation process;
– Read the list of permissions an app is requesting carefully. Do not simply click ‘next’ during installation, without checking what you are agreeing to;
– Use a cybersecurity solution that will protect your device from cyber-threats.
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