The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released tips on keeping apps on mobile devices safe and secure.
Apps may put a user’s privacy at risk. When downloaded, the app may ask for permission to access personal information from the device such as contacts, photos, location, etc. Most of this information is used for legitimate purposes, but the user should be aware that information may be shared with third parties.
To avoid malicious apps and limit the amount of personal information collected, CISA suggests the following:
Before installing an app,
- Limit download sources to official app stores and do not download from unknown sources.
- Read reviews before downloading an app.
- Understand what information the app will access before downloading.
After an app is installed
- Review app permissions and ensure installed apps only have access to the information they need.
- Limit location permissions, and at a minimum allow access only when the app is in use.
- Keep app software up to date.
- Uninstall apps you do not need.
- Be cautious signing into apps with social networking accounts
- Use an email address and unique password to sign into apps.
For additional protection, CISA suggests limiting activities on public WiFi networks. They also suggest being cautious when charging and do not connect your smartphone to any computer or charging station that you do not control. Finally, ensure your device requires a password or biometric identifier to access it so it will not be useful if stolen.