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Risk from Free App

Risk From Free Apps

If you have a smartphone, you have most probably downloaded many free that provides access to services, social networking apps, games and more. If you have the choice between paid app and free apps, most likely the only choice would be for free app. But believe it, even though it may seem like the smart choice, but is it really not.

When you downloaded the free app, you may have been asked to agree to share your contact details, location, photographs etc. stored on your mobile. If you don’t agree, it is quite likely that you will not be able to install such app. However, if you have agreed then most likely you have put yourself in the problem. And that's the Risk from Free App.

Think it over

If an ice cream parlor in your neighborhood offers you free ice-cream of your choice on the condition that you share your address, date of birth and contact details of your family members, will you go for free ice-cream? If your answer is ‘No’ then why it is ‘Yes’ in case of free app?

How your information is misused?

  • With the information received from you they are able to send you phishing mails, SMS, WhatsApp messages to you. They can see and download your profile picture and use it to harass you. Worst, they sell your information to other cyber criminals. Few of the common trick that they may apply is
  • Spoofing phone calls - a call appearing to come from your contacts to fool you to harm/rob you. Them may send spoofed Emails (appearing to come from known contact from your contact list) to deceive you.
  • They may make fake Facebook profile on your name with your photographs that you agreed to share while installing the app and fool others on your name.
  • When you agreed to share the Location they may track where you are

In fact with all the information that you shared, the cyber criminals are ultimately in control of all that you do.

Best Practices

  • Download applications only from official app stores- it is less risky
  • Read the privacy documentation of the app to see what information it is accessing. Be wary of apps without privacy documentation or ones with suspicious use of permissions.
  • Bank with authorized apps only (not unauthorized apps or via the browser)
  • Download from reputable publishers with multiple apps with many downloads or high rating

Hope this article helps you to understand the basic of Risk from Free App.

My Question:

You want to download an App from unknown source. It has a condition that you should agree to share your contact details, location and photographs. What is the best way that you install and use the App but still the App owner will not be able to receive those information?

Once I see your answers, I will share my answer.

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