New study shows your apps could be putting your personal information at risk

Popular apps could be a gateway for hackers
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 18:15:29-04

A new study shows more than a quarter of all third-party applications for your smartphone or tablet are putting you at risk of being hacked.

Cloudlock, a cyber security company, revealed in the study several popular apps that could allow hackers an easy gateway to your personal information.

"I was surprised that 27 percent of apps are dangerous to run, that's a lot," Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of Clearwater-based Knowbe4 cyber security, said.

We showed Sjouwerman Cloudlock's study which revealed more than a quarter of all third party apps put your company at risk for being hacked if not managed carefully.

Sjouwerman added it's not just your company that could have a security risk. Home internet and devices are just as susceptible.

"It's your own identity, it's your financial records, confidential files, that sort of thing that could be stolen. It's obviously not something you want to have done," he said.

Among the apps the study called risky were Madden NFL Mobile, SoundCloud, AirBnB and Pinterest.

Maybe you have a couple of them. Diana Stout did.

"There's Pinterest," Stout told us as she scrolled through her phone.

"It makes me a little nervous to have them on my phone, and knowing a couple of them are on my kid's phones makes me even more nervous."

What the study found was that more and more apps are accessing data on your phone or computer and then selling it. It could be to other developers or advertisers. But the issue is sometimes hackers intercept that data.

"There's one big kind of rule you almost have to think with and that is if you don't pay for the product, you are the product," Sjouwerman cautioned.

Want to know what your apps are actually accessing? Try going to your system settings and sometimes you can deactivate certain tracking features. You can also look up the privacy policy on the app and read it before you click download.

Sjouwerman said another option is the obvious one. Delete the app. 

"Think before you click," he said.