Be Smart When Downloading Phone Apps


Ask Questions to Protect Privacy

Lake Oswego, Ore. July 28, 2011 – With new smartphone applications hitting the digital marketplace everyday, it is becoming more difficult for consumers to discern between the entertaining and the dangerous. Once downloaded, risky apps can use spyware to track users’ activities and steal contacts, text messages or photos saved on devices.

“Apps can be incredibly fun, useful and informative; consumers should protect phones from dangerous downloads, just as they would personal computers,” commented Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington.

Better Business Bureau recommends asking questions to avoid installing spyware or other dangerous apps:

What permissions does the app request? Downloading word games, for example, shouldn’t require access to the phone’s location, contacts, or SIM card. Read app permissions carefully and decide if conceding the information is worth it.

How do users rate the app? Read reviews from those who have used the app. Be wary of negative evaluations and reports of operating issues.

Who created the app? Before installing, research the developer; find out what other apps they created. Using well-known developers can decrease the risk of downloading malicious programs.

Download Dilemmas:

  • Watch out for drastic drops in battery life. Malicious apps can drain battery life as programs run in the background.
  • Beware of unknown charges on monthly cell phone bills. If unscrupulous developers can access phones through apps, they may be able to charge users’ accounts without their knowledge.

For more tips, read BBB’s article: Cell Phone Users: Block Identity Theft Risks.


About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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