Smartphones have become a part of our lives and so have the apps that come with them. Whether you use apps for productivity, creativity, social sharing or just for fun, just how safe are they? Many apps can access and use our personal data without our knowledge or permission. So, what can we do?
To show Canadians how to use their mobile apps safely, Telus and Public Safety Canada have come together and have created the #BeAppSafe initiative. In this, you can find helpful resources, tips and even a fun quiz (with a some cool prizes too).
Here are a few tips to stay safe when using apps:
1. Only download apps from trusted sources, such as app stores: Avoid downloading apps that may contain malicious code to steal your personal information.
2. Keep your operating system up to date: Protect your mobile device from hackers by accepting software updates, and consider installing security software.
3. Turn off tracking apps on your smartphone: Learn how to disable the geo-tagging feature and only turn on GPS when you need to use it so that strangers don’t know where you are and when you’re not home.
4. Check the permissions and privacy settings for all apps and games you download: Make sure you are aware of what personal information is being collected and shared.
5. Set strong passwords: Don’t make it easy for someone to access your phone or your account. Change passwords regularly and lock you phone or set it to automatically lock when not in use for a certain amount of time.
6. Don’t click on suspicious links: Avoid scams by only clicking on trusted links and replying to callers or text messages from people that you know.
I would also suggest that you don’t hesitate to get more help even through your service provider. If you’re a Telus customer you can book a one-on-one session with their Learning Centre specialist at a location near you. I’ve done this several times. It;s great because you have the dedicated time to learn whatever you want. Safety topics too!
As technology continues to move forward and wow us, it’s important for us to try to understand the issues that come with the advancements. We often check in with grandpa on his smartphone and grandma and her iPad to see how they are doing with the technology. What is amazing to us is their trust in everything that is out there. Unfortunately, the internet is like the wild, wild west and we need to protect ourselves.