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Consumers concerned about app security

Australian consumers hold mobile app providers responsible for the security of the personal data collected by the app, according to a new survey.

The Unisys Security Index found that consumers also hold the government responsible for ensuring security, while social media companies, app market places, and app developers are least at fault for security breaches.

“Some apps are very open about the fact that they collect personal data, and this may even be positioned as a convenience to the user. The Unisys Security Index findings show that the Australian public expects these organisations to protect any personal data they collect via mobile apps,” says John Kendall, security program director for Unisys Asia Pacific.

Eight in ten Australians surveyed believe the provider of the service a mobile app links to, such as a bank or airline, is responsible for protecting personal data.

However, some apps are upfront about gathering user data, others can gather and transmit personal details without users being aware.

Kendall says consumers must be mindful of their own responsibilities when it comes to keeping their details safe.

“Individuals must also take personal responsibility to be aware of what information their mobile apps are accessing, particularly if the mobile device the app sits on is being used in the workplace, regardless of whether the device is owned by a company or an employee,” he says.

“Employees could inadvertently allow mobile apps to capture sensitive information such as unencrypted data, location tracking, contacts and sign-on details, putting their employers at risk.”

Unisys has five tips to help minimise the risk of a mobile app stealing your data:

  1. Before downloading a mobile app, review the app permissions to make sure that your personal information is not being shared with other third parties.  Read the licensing agreement and privacy policy.
  2. Avoid downloading or accepting invitations to join games that require you to enter your birth date, place of birth, etc., as this information is also often used in sign-on credentials.
  3. Conduct an internet search on the app to see if there are any reports of it containing malicious code.  Look at user reviews to see if there are any known issues with the app.
  4. If that free app looks too good to be true, then it probably is – treat it with caution.
  5. If it’s an app you want to use for work, check if your employer has a corporate app store that contains apps they have already reviewed and vetted as safe to use.

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Gina Baldassarre

Gina Baldassarre

Gina is a journalist at Dynamic Business. She enjoys learning to ice skate and collecting sappy inspirational quotes.

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