Canadians spend at least 3 hours a day on mobile devices, and 85% of that time is spent on mobile device applications (apps). That’s a minimum of 90 hours of online exposure a month, increasing the risk of cyberattacks.

Apps disguised as malware do exist. They are created by cybercriminals, and would unleash a malware onto a mobile device when installed, exposing private information such as passwords, banking information, photos, and contact lists. Other types of risks associated with mobile apps is the ability for cyber criminals to connect remotely and without consent, accessing every single piece of information stored on your device.

There are ways to exercise mobile app safety.

Follow these 4 steps to protect yourself from cybercriminals:

1. Verify the source

app description

Before installing a mobile app, verify the source and ensure it is trustworthy. Mobile apps always include a description added by the app developers. Go over the description, look for poor grammar, inconsistent language, and lack of links to the developer’s website, social media accounts, etc. These can be indicators of a questionable source.

reviews for app

Check the reviews section before downloading the app. The reviews are submitted by other app users, documenting their experience. Take the time to read the reviews in case there was any mention of fraud or other security concerns.

preview for app

Developers commonly include screenshots or previews of the app’s features. This gives you an idea of what to expect as the app user, but also adds to the app’s credibility, though not as important as the reviews and description sections.

2. Check the app’s privacy settings

app privacy settings

You can control what the app has access to on your device. Unless relevant to its function, deny the app access to your photo library, contact list, location and other private information. Your personal information can be shared with ad companies, and if mishandled, end up on the dark web.

3. Be prepared to erase your data remotely

cropped view of criminal man pickpocketing smartphone from womans bag on street

In case your mobile device is lost or stolen, you should have the ability to wipe your personal information remotely, including apps, which might carry personal information, such as banking, travel, and smart home apps. Smart home apps are especially of great concern as hackers can access home automated devices such as smart locks and security cameras. Find my iPhone or Lost are some of the apps that give you that capability.

4. Keep your apps and operating system up-to-date

software update

Your apps and operating system should be kept up-to-date. These updates not only improve your user experience, but contain security updates crucial to keeping up with the ever-changing cybersecurity ecosystem.

Related Articles

Homeowners are increasingly at risk of a cyber attack. How can insurance help?

Simple cyber security resolutions for the New Year

How to be safer when using public Wi-Fi


© The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada (BI&I). All rights reserved.

This article is for informational purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment or software. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions. Under no circumstances shall BI&I or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information or images contained in or linked to in this article.

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