The monitoring capabilities of mobile apps are becoming a concern for South African users, many of whom are worried that the app tracking on their connected devices is happening without their knowledge or consent.

This is the latest finding from the cybersecurity experts at Kaspersky Lab.

These dangers, however, could be easily averted by putting some simple security measures in place, according to the software provider.

Expanding on their findings, they say that there are rising concerns among consumers about just how much of their internet activity is being watched, or whether they are traceable through their online footprint.

Kaspersky Lab has found, for example, that 71% of South Africans are “uncomfortable” with sharing their location information with websites and applications – a figure that has risen sharply from 53 percent in 2016.

Furthermore, 65 percent are “very concerned” that someone can see everything they do or watch them on their device, with 59 percent fearing that someone could track them down using geolocation information from their device.

Kaspersky Lab says these concerns are well-founded. Their experts have reportedly found that apps can not only access a huge amount of data (such as crucial details about where users are, information about their contacts, activities and so on), but they also often work in the background without users knowing.

According to the research, globally 83 percent of Android apps have access to their owners’ sensitive data, and 96 percent of the apps can launch without consent.

Nevertheless, worries about this access can be averted with some simple security measures.

But people are avoiding the data safety or privacy measures that could help put their minds at ease. For example, 40 percent of South Africans admit that they don’t check the permissions of their preinstalled mobile apps for their Android and iOS devices, and 12 percent don’t check permissions when downloading or installing new apps onto their mobile devices.

“Research shows that despite our love for apps, we don’t necessarily trust them. While people are certainly becoming more switched on about their apps tracking their online activity, they aren’t necessarily putting measures in place to protect themselves from any potential problems,” adds Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab.

The company is touting its own set of tools as a means for users to protect themselves from unwanted mobile app activity.

They point to Kaspersky Internet Security for Android to guard mobile devices from potentially harmful apps which can access personal data for malicious purposes. In addition Kaspersky Battery Life is said to analyse all applications on a user’s device and identify those that are working in the background and consuming device energy.

While we cannot punt Kaspersky Lab’s mobile solutions in particular, the company highlights a significant issue for mobile device users and security surrounding applications.


[Image – CC0 – Pixabay]