How Safe are Smartphone Apps?

Posted by: Anna | 10/11/2016 at 09:00 AM

How Safe are Smartphone Apps?

Most people own a smartphone and love the convenience it offers. Applications (apps) allow people to use mobile phones in many aspects of their lives, but do you know how safe the apps you use are? Protect yourself and your devices by understanding how apps work and how to tell if an app you’re using is a security threat.

Read the Permissions

When you download an app, you’ll be asked to grant permissions for that app to work with other functions of your phone. For the most part, this is standard. You may be asked to enable location/GPS services, grant access to your camera or other applicable permissions based on what action the app performs. However, be wary of permissions that don’t seem necessary or make sense for the app. For example, if you’re downloading a calculator, to do list or any other organization tool app, you probably don’t need it to have access to areas of your phone such as call, text or GPS history.

Research the App and Developer

In today’s digital age, everyone has an online reputation. Most apps are developed by either an in-house team or they may be outsourced to an app developer or freelancer. Regardless, do your due diligence and Google the developer or company behind the app. The first page of results will give you a feel for their history as a company and the security of their apps. If you come across anything that seems like a red flag in the history, play it safe and don’t install the app.

Check Data Usage

You may have downloaded an app that performs a specific function and not much else. So, why is it using so much memory on your phone? If you notice this, it’s probably getting hold of way more than was specified in the initial permissions. If you notice a significant jump in your data usage after downloading an app, immediately delete it. Chances are you’ve downloaded one with malware that is attacking your phone internally. It may seem like it’s just sucking data at first, but in the long run you’re diminishing the security of your phone and are at risk of having your identity and other private information stolen.

Read Through Reviews

All apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store have reviews. These user reviews often show what model device someone used with the app, a star rating and they allow users to share their experiences. If you notice a trend of others saying the app doesn’t function as advertised and/or having security issues, delete it immediately.

The Skinny on Smartphone Apps

Ultimately, there are more good apps on the market than bad. If you’re using an app for one of your favorite restaurants, gas stations/convenience stores, retail stores, banking, following your favorite sports teams, etc., it’s most likely safe. Keep a closer eye on the independent, third-party apps that have no branded identity. Regardless, though, pay attention to your digital presence and the information flow on your phone. If you ever see something suspicious, it’s better to be safe than sorry and delete the application.

The Ambit Energy App

Ambit’s Energy App was developed internally by our own team to both match your specific needs and be as secure as possible. If you haven’t already, download the new version now.

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