How to identify a dodgy app

The number of apps listening to private conversations and capturing credit card details are growing, says Elegant Media.

The app and software development company Elegant Media works with government, corporates, entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes to develop and deliver tech solutions.

“I have heard from an unsettling number of people who have fallen victim to credit card fraud from apps that do not hold privacy to the same level of sacrality of the public by the developers,” says co-founder and CEO of Elegant Media, Anushka Bandara.

“Some apps have obtained a financial license to store credit card information, with permission from the user. Apps like AirTasker, PayPal, AirBnB and Netflix all store your credit card information securely – however it doesn’t mean your private information is necessarily safe.”

Mr Bandara says there are a number of ways to verify an app before downloading it onto your device and protect your private details.

  1. Do a background test. Credible vendors should have a Security and Privacy Policy listed on their site that will outline how information is collected.
  2. Double check how many times the app has been downloaded. While it’s okay to download an app that hasn’t hit a million downloads, just ensure you do a deep dive into the vendor.
  3. Reconsider which vendors you give permission to. Check in with your settings to check the permissions are appropriate for the type of app it is. E.g., a gaming app shouldn’t need permission for the camera or microphone.
  4. Don’t make in-app purchases from public places. Hackers can access public Wi-Fi signals and intercept private information while it is being transmitted from an app.
  5. Keep track of your in-app purchases. Keep a printed or digital copy of receipts and order confirmations, to compare the amount on your billing statement. If you notice any suspicious activity, contact your credit card issuer immediately.

“If you are still worried or suspicious of an app, I urge people to just delete it altogether,” says Mr Bandara.

For more information on Elegant Media’s services visit elegantmedia.com.au.

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