The 5 Worst apps for your security
Apps are essential for our everyday life, but unfortunately, they also pose a threat to our online security. The truth is that our phones have an overwhelming amount of information about us, our habits, likes and dislikes, how we communicate and who we communicate with. It’s not just the companies that produce our phones but it is also the app we use on a daily basis. This is why we've combined the list of the top 5 worst apps for your online security.
And we know, some of the apps listed here are pretty hard to get rid of, unless you’re trying to alienate yourself from the rest of the world. Our only hope here is that you will at least approach these apps with more caution and take those extra steps to protect your privacy as much as possible.
This probably comes as no surprise to most people, but Facebook is one of the worst apps when it comes to privacy. While it may be the most popular and widely used social media platform/app, it is also the worst when it comes to privacy and security. Facebook has been a part of numerous scandals revolving around the problematic practices of Big Tech and the many instances of serious data breaches. So far it looks like there is a culture of privacy abuse in all major social media platforms. Still, Facebook stands out as the most invasive app that tracks your every step and benefits greatly from it. Facebook has an overwhelming list of terms and conditions, which grants the app the permission to track your contacts, private messages, your camera and microphone, your Wi-fi, and even your location. It continues to track your every move even when you are not using Facebook. The many conveniences that come with using this app definitely have a price.
Facebook, above all other apps, knows your online habits and tendencies. It keeps track of everything: what you are looking at, what you are liking, what type of content you are engaging with. Facebook then uses this data for its own gain, so it can show you targeted ads - the ones that you are most likely to click on. We know that swearing off Facebook isn’t for everyone, since you also risk missing out on a lot of opportunities, but stay cautious of what you share and do on Facebook because nothing goes unnoticed by the app.
Messenger is no better than Facebook. In some way it is even worse since this is where we tend to share private information with others, assuming that they will stay private. But did you know that Messenger does not use end-to-end encryption? This means that it’s much easier for third parties to access your messages and freely read through them. And Facebook is not the one to shy away from invading their users’ privacy.
It should be mentioned that these suspicious practices can also be used for good. For example, it allows to control the spread of Fake News, or it can alert Facebook if someone is planning a dangerous event or even threatening another person via Messenger. In reality, though, Facebook has failed to use its practices for good and has been mostly dealing with the backlash from using its power to spy on people with the aim of improving the effectiveness of their targeted ads. The thing with Facebook is that based on their history, they are very likely to use your data without you even knowing it. They are not the most ethical company out there, so beware. If you can't quit Facebook Messenger completely, just make sure to reconsider your habits and actions, as well as your current security settings on Messenger because you are definitely being watched.
This is yet another wildly popular app that became wrapped up in the controversy regarding its data collection policies. TikTok is a video-sharing social media platform that has grown at a rapid pace over the last couple of years. And while it is definitely entertaining for its users, it also comes with a lot of questionable policies. Tiktok, just like the other apps we’ve mentioned so far, collects data about its users. This app has access to your camera, microphones, contacts, location, your social network contacts, and it is also collecting data about you based on your behavior on TikTok. On top of that TikTok’s current security system leaves a lot to be desired. The app has fallen victim to hackers and various cyberattacks over the last couple of years.
In 2020 we got the confirmation that it was possible to attack TikTok accounts through SMS which just added fuel to the fire surrounding TikTok.
Your TikTok account is more vulnerable than your other social media pages so keep that in mind when using the app to communicate with others or handing over your personal information to the app. On top of that, make sure that you adjust the privacy settings in your TikTok account if you think that you don't want to give up the app completely.
Weather apps are often overlooked in discussions regarding app security, since there really isn't much to them - mostly people just check them during the week and don’t spend more than a couple of seconds using them. But turns out Weather apps are actually extremely bad when it comes to online security and privacy.
These apps take advantage of the fact that most of us don't think too much about our weather app security and use this for their own gain. If you’ve ever had a weather app, you’ll know that you have to allow the app to access your location in order for it to show you the right temperature and what kind of weather you can expect throughout the day. Well, these apps track your location even when you aren't using the app and then sell it to advertisers. Creators of these apps know that people won't spend too much time going through the terms and conditions of the weather app so they take advantage of that. These apps make a lot of money from just selling your data to third parties who will then use it to advertise their product better. The best way to avoid data breaches through weather apps is to adjust your settings on these apps so that they can not track your location if you are not using the app.
The last app on our list is WeChat. This is a social media platform and mobile payment app combined. Online Banking systems and payment methods have greatly simplified our lives and it’s very hard to argue against them. But sometimes these apps can also overstep the line. One example of a payment platform that does not care about its users' privacy is WeChat. If you have never used WeChat, there’s a chance that you have at least heard about it because this app is no stranger to controversies. It has been confirmed that WeChat monitors the exchange between users that happens through their app, it has been banned in multiple countries and there's a high chance that they are selling this data to third parties. When we handle our finance online, we always have to consider the risks that are unique to online banking and online payment methods. There are other options for people who want to handle their money online, and if you decided to do that, WeChat probably should not be your first choice.
While spying on users is never a positive thing, it carries a whole new meaning when it’s about the app that we are supposed to trust with our money. Avoid taking risks, especially when the money is involved, and choose alternative payment platforms.
Sadly most popular apps are not like that when it comes to security. All of the apps we have mentioned in the list have millions of monthly users and their popularity doesn't seem to be declining, even as these companies are facing lawsuits, allegations, and scandals.