Mobile Phones and Privacy Concerns: Overblown or Reality?
The boom in mobile phone services and hundreds of apps you use on the go have pushed privacy and security concerns into the open. Do not be under the mistaken notion that if you own the best smartphone ever, you are shielded from privacy violations. Be aware that your phone is watching you wherever you take it.
Geotracking Means Follow Me
Whenever you give permission to your phone to turn on the Global Positioning System (GPS), it means your favourite best Android phone is following you, and may even be sharing all your data with ruthless and hungry marketing agencies, hackers, phishing attack criminals, law agencies and cyberstalkers.
The other day, Arindam posted his Darjeeling vacation photos on Instagram and Facebook. To his surprise, he started receiving unsolicited messages and emails on Darjeeling Tea, cheapest flights to Darjeeling and hotel accommodation ads too. So be aware that disclosing location data is an invasion of your privacy. If you think rejecting the GPS prompt keeps you safe, think again. Other sensors in your phone such as barometer, accelerometer and magnetometer can still report your movements.
Mobile Malware on Apps
Indians downloaded the most number of Android apps in 2018. According to the State of the Mobile 2019 report, from App Annie, an app analytics firm, India is the top market for Google Play downloads. Brazil and the US took the second and third places. In the past two years, there has been a 165% climb in downloads from India, which includes iOS, Google Play and third-party Android platforms. Quick Restaurant Services or home delivery apps led the pack.
And if you are under the impression that Google Play apps are safe, a 2017 probe revealed 333 malicious apps on it in a single category. So you should be very careful when you give apps permission to access so many data sets on the best smartphone you use: why does a game need access to your photos? Ask yourself.
The content of some popular Chinese apps like Tik Tok, Kwai, LIKE, BigoLive, LiveMe, LivU, UpLive, VMate, Welike, Helo and NonoLive, which centre around short videos, lip syncing, live streaming and short video streaming is by nature an intrusion of privacy of kids and borders on child abuse. So much so the apps have been banned in many countries and are now being forced to introduce safeguards. But it is best to steer clear of these ‘one-click opt-in’ downloads that grant full network access even on the best Android phones. Purchasing a good mobile at a trusted online supermarket like Finserv Markets is not the end. You should use the phone responsibly.
Free with Strings
Whenever you come across something free, take it with a large dose of salt. Free music downloads, audio players, often come with malware, viruses and Trojans. There is another “free” lure –that of free wifi. Anjana was shopping at a mall in Gurgaon, when she noticed the free wifi connection offered. Considering that she planned to be there for 4-5 hours, she logged on to the mall network.
The wifi actually had tracking software which followed her into each store and also monitored her billing. The series of emails she received from me-too products and stores in following days made her suspicious; when she checked around, she realised she was a sitting duck for in-store analytics.
Phones Have Eyes and Ears
You may pride yourself on owning the best Android phone, but the fact is the mobile has a camera and a microphone which spy and eavesdrop on you too. So the next time you click that gorgeous selfie, remember there are background clicks happening that transport your data –right from your physical appearance to your surroundings and via the microphone, even the ambient sounds (which TV show is on).
Software “sleuths” who receive this data, immediately create your profile, which is manna from heaven for the marketing guys. If this data gets into the wrong hands (as it often does), you may even be the victim of a phishing attack, email spam, unsolicited SMS bombing,
Now that you know some of the risks a mobile poses to your privacy, do not assume your best smartphone can protect you. Take proactive steps:
● Go to Settings and switch off permissions.
● Download applications from trusted channels, never third-party apps.
Be alert when you give personal details on any form –online or in the physical world. Sensitive information like passwords should be transmitted only through encrypted protocols.
- Set your Bluetooth configuration to “non-discoverable” mode by default to prevent hackers from accessing your microphone and camera.
- Keep track of security patches and anti-virus software for mobile phones
- Follow the changes in data protection laws which may have mobile phone makers and intermediaries build in hardware and software features that introduce traceability and threaten your freedom or privacy. Speak out.
The concerns over mobile privacy are justified though technologies can both help and harm you. As long as you are informed, nothing should stop you from looking for your dream mobile online at Bajaj Finserv EMI Store.
Also, check out the most popular smartphones at The 5 Phones We All Still Want
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Get cyber security for your smartphone from Bajaj Finserv Markets for protection against any potential cyber threats and risks.