How Social Media Leaves Your Data Vulnerable

Social media has quickly become a ubiquitous digital experience. Almost everyone is on social media in one form or another these days. But just because it’s so prevalent doesn’t mean that every social media app is safe from a data security perspective. In fact, your mobile apps might be oversharing on behalf of you and your organization. Most apps, particularly ones that are free, are designed to collect and share your data in some form or another. That can mean big problems for your organizational security and your data privacy. Here are several things you can do to protect yourself and your company better in the modern age.

Understand What’s At Stake

While most apps that collect and share data do a decent job of generalize personal data and share non-specific information with advertisers for a wide variety of reasons including to generate more targeted ads that match your habits, preferences and interests, some apps might be sharing too much. A recent example of this oversharing at its worst was the popular “Brightest Flashlight Free” Android app, which reached a settlement with the FTC after it deceived users into sharing device information and geographic locations with third parties. The app’s privacy policy failed to mention that the information it collected would be shared, leaving many users very vulnerable to data risks they were completely unaware of.

Take Action to Protect Your Data

While some apps will openly disclose how user information is being used, others are not necessarily so straightforward. To prevent your data from being overshared with third parties via your apps, make sure you research the apps you are downloading and the companies that distribute them. Reputable companies are less likely to be acting improperly when it comes to your data, but even then, you should be careful. Read user reviews and mentions in industry publications to make sure you are aware of current technology trends to stay ahead of the market as much as possible.

You should also make a point to read the entire privacy policy of the apps you do download. For Android devices, make sure you review the “permissions” screen as well. These resources will tell you plainly what data or information an app will access and what they will do with that information. When prompted by the app, always opt-out of location sharing. Check the privacy settings on your device frequently, and make sure they’re set to the highest level possible without compromising essential app functions.

Always update your apps when a new version is available, as these updates often repair bugs or vulnerabilities found in earlier versions of the app. Be strict about deleting any apps you no longer use from your phone as they may be acting in the background without your even knowing it. While it’s the plain truth that neither mobile nor web-based apps are likely to stop collecting information from users, as that is how they most often make the money they need to sustain their business, you can make sure that the information you are sharing is only what you agree to and are comfortable with.

The bottom line is this, read the fine print and do what you can to keep your personal information personal, and your organizational data secure. For more advice on how to keep your data secure in the digital age, connect with the team at Happy Faces Records Management today.


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