Robbery – most often we connect this word with money. When we are talking about robbery in Internet we think about dishonest sellers, swindlers, tricksters or stealing money from bank accounts or coping data from credit cards. The last two elements are not occurring quite often, but are loudly commented in news.
This time I would like to write about other type of robbery – thieves of privacy. I think that nowadays people are not carrying enough about their private data. So it is very easy to steal some details about their life. In my case two most crucial devices for me are smartphone and tablet. Both of them contain a lot of information about me. Data from them can tell you about my habits, friends, where I am right now, they know my daily plan, and many other things…
It seems that similar to the money, we can think about physical robbery – stealing of device. But this case is quite good secured. My smartphone is locked by password and what is more important – it is encrypted. I can also try to locate it from Microsoft website or even erase the data. So this kind of robbery is not a problem.
There is one more way of stealing your data. Many people are not aware of that possibility. You should know that application you are installing on your device can also steal your data. Please note that if application need access to something unusual you will get following prompt:
Second place where you can check which type of information is needed by an application is in description of the application. In the bottom you will find following details:
In theory each user should be aware what type of information will be used by mobile application. But in normal life nobody reads those information. Every time you will be installing application that is using GPS you will get a question similar to the first screen. But what about other type of information – contacts, appointments, photos, …?
Let’s analyze application for example – JakDojade.pl. You can see that application is using the following information: photo, music and video libraries and microphone. If we look at application we will discover that none of those elements should be used in it. So what application is doing with that data?
As a second example I would like to use application YouTube HD which has been created by Idea Creator Corp. This application is at 8th place in the best free application in Polish Windows Phone store. The main purpose of this application is showing YouTube movies. But the list of elements to which this application has access is really impressive: appointments, contacts, phone identity, owner identity, location services, movement and directions sensor and some others.
It means that application can copy list of our contacts, appointments, check our location or even discover what we are doing right now. In this moment you should wonder if you trust such application. And what is more important in real world you will find people who will be able to pay a lot of money for that kind of information.
Many of you can think that I am magnifying this issue but please remember that uploading something to the Internet takes just a second. The problem will occur when you would like to remove something from the Internet. Sometimes it will be even not possible to do or it will take a whole eternity. From that reason I encourage you to be more cautious when you are installing new software on your mobile phone.