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Lookout gives out tips on how to protect yourself from 'leaky apps'

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Lookout gives out tips on how to protect yourself from 'leaky apps'
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.

source: Lookout

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posted on 28 Jan 2014, 21:41

1. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

And, for apps that don't require a network connection as part of the app functionality, put your phone in airplane mode.

posted on 28 Jan 2014, 21:45

2. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)

Once when looking for a voice recording app, I was astounded at the number of apps that required access to the contacts list. Unfortunately, I found this the hard way, for as soon as I installed one such app, for the first time I got spam at an address that I had never used but at one website. Now, if an app requires more than what I think it needs to, I just don't install it.

posted on 28 Jan 2014, 22:34 1

3. nothingmuch (Posts: 199; Member since: 03 May 2013)

I use "APP OPS" by erickdkfz" from Google play to turn those pesky features off, it also lets you know when and what app did what, can be used for non rooted devices. Its very informative. (Hope the link worx!)

posted on 28 Jan 2014, 22:39

5. GeekMovement (unregistered)

I should take a look at that app.

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 03:00

8. potatosalad (Posts: 40; Member since: 07 May 2012)

it needs 4.3 and up. :(

posted on 28 Jan 2014, 22:35 1

4. GeekMovement (unregistered)

I'm not sure that really helps after seeing the app that got tens of millions of downloads along with being produced by a top developer being used to gather information... almost seems like there's no avoiding it.

posted on 28 Jan 2014, 22:42 2

6. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

Security on Android needs a lot of improvement but it helps none with the parent company, google, knows more about you than your own parents.

posted on 28 Jan 2014, 23:50 4

7. joey_sfb (Posts: 6541; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

Same goes for Apple's iOS. Need a hell lots of improvement too!

And don't get caught with your pants down!

posted on 29 Jan 2014, 08:04 1

9. Ishmeet (Posts: 111; Member since: 16 Sep 2013)

And to add to your blind info........Apple logs each of your keystroke, everything you speak to siri, every detail you enter in any of their services, every of your notes, reminders and icloud synced contents.
In this digital age, there is quite less privacy. While many firms collect user data for purposes they need, many do it for shady reasons and give out false excuses.
All one needs is the right amount of info about the services he is accustomed to using, and how of handle each each of them and use it for your advantage to make better use of digital content.

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