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Data protection - how to tell if an app is violating your privacy

23 Jul 2021 Developer News
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There’s no denying that the internet can be a wonderful place. It brings a wealth of information at our fingertips so we can access it with just a few clicks or taps. It makes our lives infinitely easier, changing the way we communicate, learn, work, run errands or have fun. But there’s also a darker side to the internet that we can’t ignore. For every single benefit it provides, there are also risks to take into consideration.

Unfortunately, the digital environment is also plagued with malicious entities and software looking to take advantage of any flaw or vulnerability they encounter in order to attack devices and those using them. As the world wide web evolves, so do these malicious actors and their methods to retrieve sensitive data and information that can cause a lot of damages both to companies and individuals. That’s why experts advise internet users to get educated on cyber security matters and practice caution while they’re online.

Another very important aspect people have to be aware of is that PC’s and laptops are not the only devices targeted by cyber criminals. In fact, the increasing number of smartphone users has made these devices a far more attractive target for hackers. Nowadays, smartphone attacks are more frequent than ever and the prevalence of malicious apps is truly a concerning issue.

Since people store a lot of information on their smartphones, the risk of private data falling into the wrong hands is quite high. You can experience a lot of distress and damage after falling victim to a cyber-attack. And even though you may be entitled to receive compensation for breach of data and the loss you’ve suffered, as experts at Compensation Calculator UK point out, it would be a lot better to avoid these situations in the first place.    

This is why every smartphone user out there should know how to spot potentially malicious apps and learn to keep cyber threats at bay. So here are some of the tell-tale signs that you might have a malicious app on your smartphone that is threatening your safety and privacy.

Sudden internet speed drop

If you have slow internet connection on your smartphone it doesn’t necessarily mean your phone is infected with rogue apps. It might be simply because you have a slow phone, you’re connected to a slow network or it might indicate an issue with your service provider, which means you’ll probably have to consider switching carriers.

But if none of the above situations explain your slow internet connection, and the speed drop you’ve experienced was sudden and severe, the chances of a malicious app causing it are much higher. Mobile malware uses internet bandwidth to run and perform malicious operations, so it’s little surprise they can cause your internet speed to slow down. If the speed drop coincides with the time you’ve installed an app on your phone, it’s an even clearer sign that something might be wrong with it.

Higher than usual bills

Slow speed and high bills are never a good combo, and they’re usually bad news for the health of your smartphone. You can’t just ignore massive phone bills, especially if you know you’ve done nothing lately that could send your bill through the roof.

There are many malicious apps out there that can make extra charges to your phone bill and leave a whole in your budget. Other red flags might not be as obvious, but high phone bills are one of the surest ways to identify a malicious app and remove it from your phone.

High data usage

Not all malicious apps lead to astronomical phone bills. Others act in a much more subtle way and leave fewer traces behind, making it a bit more difficult for users to spot them. But you know what they say – there’s no such thing as a perfect crime, and that stands true in the cyber space as well. All malicious apps leave some kind of evidence behind.

If it’s not speed issues or sky-high bills, high data usage can expose malicious apps. Users with unlimited data plans won’t be able to spot a malicious app by looking at their phone bills, but they can figure things out by checking their data usage. Are you using more data than usual and is a certain app responsible for the sudden spike? Then you’ve probably found the culprit.

Poor battery life

Smartphone users have a general idea of their phone’s battery performance, so they usually know what to expect in this regard. Of course, battery life is also affected by how much and how intensely you use your phone, but then again, you probably know that already.

What should alarm you is an unexplainable decline in battery life when you’ve done nothing that could use up your phone’s battery faster than usual. This tell-tale sign is similar to high data usage. It’s something that not even the most sophisticated malicious apps can hide. So, if you’ve fully charged your phone and after a short while you notice that your battery is low for no good reason, you might want to check your apps.

Frequent connection drops

There’s nothing more annoying than being on a phone call and dealing with an unexpected connection drop. If it happens one, it’s not such a big deal. But if it starts happening frequently, this should become a reason for concern.

Poor reception that is not caused by location or other external factors can be an indicator of malicious apps running in the background. Pay attention to when and where you get poor reception and you’ll be able to figure out the cause.

Final thoughts

Malicious apps can be a real nuisance for smartphone users and even lead to serious consequences. If you want to stay on the safe side, you should only download apps from trustworthy and reliable sources, and learn how to spot red flags in case you’ve installed a rogue app.

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