General:Beware of dangerous mobile phone apps

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If you are fond of downloading mobile phone apps, experts advise to exercise caution when installing apps on your phone. There are some apps that actually spy on the users without their knowledge. Exploiting the user’s trust, thieves are able to take advantage of mobile phone users.

Filipinos today have become more tech-savvy because smartphones have become more affordable to many. But experts warn of apps that may pose a threat to the user’s security. Phishing or sniiffing is the term used for this kind of activity.

Using the apps that have been downloaded onto a phone, cyberthieves gain access to important information in the user’s mobile phone. Contact numbers, email addresses, passwords, and other details like credit card and atm accounts are being stolen without the user’s knowledge.

According to Abe Olandres, Tech Expert, some users aren’t careful about the apps they download. “Download na lang ng download without being aware na some of the apps gather info behind the scene.”

There are some users who are quick to give out information even though this is not relevant to the app’s usage anymore. Birthdays, places of birth, and maiden name of the user’s mother are such examples of this sort of information.

Olandres adds that these are vital information that should only be kept private. “Actually ito rin ang mga impormasyon na binibigay sa mga credit card company. ‘Pag nag-Forget Password tayo, ito rin ang ginagamit na pang recover diba? Hihingin ang birthday mo, address, maiden name ng nanay mo… yun pala you’re already sharing information that’s actually crucial to your other accounts: banking accounts, PayPal, etc.”

Even Olandres became a victim of these malicious cellphone apps. “In my case naubos yung funds sa PayPal ko. May naglipat sa ibang account.”

But he insists that users shouldn’t be afraid of downloading cellphone apps. Here are a few tips when using cellphone apps:

1. Know if the creators of app can be trusted.

2. Check the reviews and ratings of the app.

3. Do not answer personal questions that the app is requiring you to answer if it is not relevant to the purpose of the app.

4. If possibile, use a different email address for downloading apps so that if the account becomes hacked into, your original email account will not be compromised.

5. In case you notice that you have already fallen victim to a malicious app, change your passwords immediately and consult the authorities.

6. Think twice about clicking links or opening attachments on your phone.

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