Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How much you care about your privacy?

Apps Come Back to Haunt You

Can you count your apps on one hand? Two? As smartphones have found their way into more pockets and purses, the tendency to become "app happy" has struck more than one consumer.

Often folks will download an app, input their personal information, allow it to track and store their locations, purchase behaviors -- heck, even account numbers -- and then forget all about it. Meanwhile, the application is running in the background gathering (and potentially sharing with third parties) the private and personal details of their lives.

Have you set an app to auto-broadcast your location to a social network? Here's hoping you remember that before you arrive at the amusement park on a "sick day." Does that pizza place auto-fill your credit card number when you order a pie online? That's one lucky thief who gets a hold of your smartphone. Make it a practice to review your apps often.

A good time to do this is now; delete the ones you are not using. A friend of mine was surprised to find she had accumulated over 200! Then, check again whenever you have an app ask you to download an update.

As those notices come in, don't just ask yourself if you'd like to update (which is an important step, as many apps improve their security and privacy standards with these updates); also ask yourself if that's truly an app you need to have on your smartphone, laptop or any other type of computing device you use.

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