Online security and privacy are an ever-growing issue whether you are using a desktop, tablet or smartphone. As tablet and smartphone use explodes users must be aware of the threats that apps pose. The number of apps that contain malware has been a cause for concern for a number of years but there is also the worry that legitimate apps might be data mining you.
Virtually every app that you download from Google’s Play store wants to have access to some part of your data. It makes sense that an email app wants to access your contacts, but why would a card game want that level of information?
I faced this issue with a number of apps that do a very good job of keeping or RAM, battery usage and deleting junk files while clearing the cache. The do the job perfectly but there is a major headache for me is that they are developed in China and the permissions indicate that a lot of my private data is being sent back to a major Chinese company. Do I stop using the app and have a stuttering smartphone or do I just bend over and prepare to be shafted by what might be a hostile entity?
No Root Firewall
If you are tech savvy you can root your phone and use some firewall apps to block data being fed back. If you are not tech savvy then you might run the risk of bricking a piece of kit that has cost you a lot of money. Fortunately there is a solution.
No Root Firewall (NRF) allows you to choose which apps can access the Internet. So you can grant access to your email client (makes sense!) but block that game of solitaire. As you use your phone NRF picks up each app as it attempts to connect and asks you if you are happy with this and grant it access or not. Blocking is a very simple manner and after an hour or so use you will have blocked those apps you don’t want to feed your data back to the developers.
From my perspective I see no reason why a cleaning and boosting app needs access to me contacts, inside leg measurement etc, so I can now use an app knowing my data will not be winging its way back to China.