Keep an eye on the permissions you give to apps

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Oh the beauty of technology.

We now have the ability to set appointments in a calendar app to remind us to be on time, video chat with friends and family across the country through a device in our pockets and look up the answer to any mundane question in the blink of an eye. But with that added convenience comes concerns. The microphone in your phone can turn speech to text, make phone calls without dialing and search the Internet

without typing. But that microphone might be listening even when you aren’t expecting it. That is, if you accidentally downloaded an application and you didn’t

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carefully monitor the permissions you approved. I too am guilty of this. You download a new piece of software, and as it begins to ask for permission to access your phone book, microphone and camera, you immediately click yes just to move on with the process.

But we have to be careful when giving these permissions.

According to Fortune, several messaging apps by the names of Soniac, Hulk Messenger and Troy Chat contained malicious code called Sonic Spy. The worst part is these apps were found on the Play Store, which is supposed to employ filters that block such apps from being available. If installed, the infectious code would turn a cellphone into a recording device without the user’s knowledge. These apps are no longer available on the Play Store, but many people downloaded one of them before all were taken down.  So how do we protect ourselves from files that are supposed to be safe, but really aren’t? The first step is to monitor the permissions each application has and be diligent about not approving suspicious permission requests. If you review an app’s permissions and feel uncomfortable about the level of access it has to the inner workings, delete it or deny those permissions.