7 security tips to stop apps from stealing your data

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We regularly see news about ways our personal information has been compromised after a data breach — and apps can be part of the problem. Apps have been unmasked as malware, used to commit click fraud or to sell your data to third parties in recent years.

We reached out to data privacy experts for their top tips to protect your personal data when using apps. Here are their seven suggestions.

1. Use a password manager

Yes, it’s a cliche, but having a strong password is the first step to keeping your personal data safe. “Password” and “123456” took the top two spots on SpashData’s Top 100 worst passwords for 2018.

You might think you’re being clever by replacing letters with numbers or symbols, but it does little to make the password stronger. In actuality, a password’s strength is measured based on its ability to withstand a brute force attack, a systematic onslaught of guesses by a hacker.

The strongest passwords are random strings of characters. A series of letters, numbers and symbols in no particular order is less likely to be found in the dictionary and harder for a computer to crack with brute force. The downside is that these complex passwords are much harder to remember.

2. Use a VPN on public Wi-Fi

Using a virtual private network (VPN), especially when you’re on public wi-fi, is an important part of keeping your data safe.

VPNs can keep your data from being snooped on by other people lurking on the same public network. They can also mask your data transmissions, avoid filtering and censorship on the internet and allow you to access a wider variety of content around the world.

3. Be mindful of app permissions

One tip that almost all of the experts mentioned was double checking which permissions the app asks for.

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