In the world of modern technology we can’t overstate how important smartphones have become to people’s lives. The average time a person spends using their smartphone is increasing day by day. Nothing much wrong with that really until you consider how much data – often personal – this activity involves. Android phones does not provide much security in the way they handle this data. And while volumes of it leak all the time there is no shortage of bad parties looking to put your data into malicious use.

How does data leak from your smartphone?

There are many ways through which data leaks happen:

The top reason is internet browsing. The web browser is one of the most frequently used app by a smartphone user. It is the place where you mostly do all your web searches, online shopping, banking, and whatnot. It is also an app that stores all the login credentials and passwords you need for these services. It is quite a convenient place for cybercriminals to have everything in one place. And because of that about half of leaking data happens to be extracted from the web browsers.Malware (malicious software designed to harm your device), spyware (software aimed to snoop on your personal data) and ransomware (software designed to blackmail you) are the ones which people should be worried about, they all are able to infiltrate your device via Google Services and mainly via web browsing.

Another way for data leak is via Google Services –which updates Google apps and apps that originated from Google Play.These updates synchronise your contacts, update your location based services and other actions. For example- If an app has to use the map interface, Google Maps service provides all the map related data it needs. It may be a genuine app that needs to visualize a map. But it could also be a malware sending it to cybercriminals. Also not to mention the company behind your legit app might also be gathering this data and selling it to advertisers.

To stop malicious apps from stealing your private data- directly or indirectly , you can download SurfShark App from here and learn more about data leaks and how to stop them.

Why should you be worried about data leaks?

When it comes to data leaks smartphones are more like a fountain spewing everything they have in all directions around them. If that statement strikes you as exaggerated it is because the perceived volume of leaks is to a certain extent reined in by the fact that the most sensitive information, like financial data – is encrypted and secured rather well.  Study shows that only 2.3% of the examined data leaks include credit card details versus 90% for email addresses.

So, who cares about these unimportant things when the crucial data is secured then? Well, cybercriminals. There are many harmful things personal data could be used for:

  • Spread malware- An email account comes with a list of contacts of people who are prone to opening messages they received from you. If someone uses your account to distribute some viruses, Trojans, and ransomware, that will get the virus with their guard down.
  • Improve malware- If hackers have access to your system’s logs they can read how it deflected certain types of malware then they can use that knowledge to design improved malware.
  • Get credentials- Credentials are mostly stored in the email inbox for services you use. By hacking your account criminals can access all your services.
  • Blackmail- Everyone has conversations that better stay private. Criminals could intercept your emails and messages and threaten to make the contents public unless you pay up.
  • Identity theft – Details such as address, birthdate, and social security number could be used by a criminal to open up a credit account in your name. It may have serious consequences ranging from your savings being drained to you being framed for crimes committed by impostors.

What can you do?

Browsing the internet on a smartphone although convenient and useful greatly increases your device’s attack surface. Depending on the level of how privacy and security conscious you are there are a few things you could do. The first is to limit browsing. You need to be extra careful about what data you share and fill in forms and on what websites (because of phishing). Also do the financial stuff like online shopping and banking only over secure connections and secure devices.Have an antivirus app installed to lower your chance from data leaks.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.