lack Friday and Cyber Monday may have already passed, but there’s still time left to snag last minute gifts and catch those seasonal discounts – whether it’s in-store or online we can’t wait to find the best deal. But while we’re dealing, someone might be stealing all our sensitive information, especially on mobile devices. Is your mobile spying while you shop? With so much buzz about credit card theft and security breaches at department stores, this is a fair question to ask. I recently caught up with Gary S. Miliefsky, an IT security expert and the CEO of cyber-security firm SnoopWall, to get more intel and tips on staying mobile safe this holiday season.
Technology changes how we shop safely
- When it comes to how technology is changing the way we shop, there are two issues. First, we’re using tablets and smartphones to shop online, many of which have malicious but trusted apps running in the background that can spy on us when we enter our credit card information, passwords or just to watch our shopping habits. Secondly, we’re buying devices that are spying on us without really thinking about the ramifications.
5 risks of shopping using a mobile device
- Companies eavesdropping on your shopping habits.
- Cyber criminals gaining your personally identifiable information and selling it or using it to steal through debit or credit card fraud, through new malware that you installed thinking it was a nice free app.
- Loss of money in the bank until the identity theft is resolved (better to use a credit card then a debit card).
- Criminals and hackers eavesdropping on you in your proximity through Bluetooth, wifi, NFC and iBeacon (so turn these hardware ports off and use only 3G/4G when doing transactions).
- Being taken to the cleaners by a fake mobile or online shopping site – if you don’t know the company, you might be shopping at an m-commerce scammer.
Beware of apps spying on your activity
All of your free apps are probably collecting a lot of information on you. The question you need to ask yourself is “Which ones are creepware that really spy on me?” It’s time to cleanup your smartphone and tablet. How many apps do you run every day, maybe 5 – 7 at best? Why not uninstall all the rest then look at these 5-7 apps and decide which ones to keep based on the following concerns:
- Look at how many permissions they need such as GPS, wifi, contacts, sms, phone logs, etc. The more permissions, the riskier they are.
- See if the software maker actually has a real website with a phone number and a real management team. Where are they located? Do they even answer support emails?
Get more tips to halt hackers on the holidays at snoopwall.com.