Mobile security firm Lookout has sent us some tips on how those sporting an Android flavored device can protect themselves from those darn 'leaky apps'. In case you missed it, we passed along a story on Monday about Edward Snowden. According to documents turned over by Snowden, the NSA and Britain's GCHQ are using apps like Angry Birds, to gather information
. Thanks to location and photo sharing, and other permissions, the Agencies are receiving such information as the age, gender, marital status and sexual orientation of some Android users. All of these bits of information are used to pull together profiles of targeted users. Angry Birds developer Rovio has already denied involvement in the information gathering, putting the blame on mobile ad networks.
As we said, Lookout has sent us some tips to follow that could protect you from having your information taken by the NSA or others.They suggest that if you don't want to share your personal data through the apps you install, turn off those features in the settings. The mobile security firm suggests that you limit app downloads to those found on the Google Play Store, Apple App Store and Amazon Appstore. Before you install an app, take a few minutes of extra time to read the reviews to make sure it is legitimate. Review the permissions that each app requests before you download and install it.
"Be cautious with personal data that you share with apps. If you don’t want apps to collect your location or contacts, make sure to turn off these features in the settings.Only download legitimate apps, such as those found in the Google Play Store, Apple’s App Store and the Amazon App store.
Do your own review of the app before you download. Spend an extra five minutes and visit the reviews on the app store or go to a reviews portal to see if the app you’re about to download is seen as legitimate and safe.
Be cautious of permissions. Apps generally have to request permission to access and service your device including accessing your camera, location and phone contact information, so it’s important to review permissions before blindly taping and accepting them."-Lookout
According to Lookout, 38% of Android apps can read location data and 50% of Android apps can find out the unique IMEI number of the phone it is installed on. Lastly, 15% of apps available for an Android smartphone can read the phone number of the handset it is installed on. Following Lookout's advice might be an easy way for you to stay under the radar.