Third party apps and privacy

Two weeks ago I was the victim of cyberfraud. I pride myself on my internet skills and cybersafety and yet I was caught out. What happened, you ask?

I was using a third party app, giving permission for that app to use my Google credentials. The app itself seemed to be down, so I logged into the app’s website. Almost instantaneously, I could see emails being sent out under my email address directing everybody (over 500 people) in my address book to a dubious link. Although I changed my Google password immediately and revoked the third party app access, the damage had been done.

I’d like to think that I was a trusted contact of all of those 500 people. And unfortunately, that’s why some of my contacts clicked on the link in the rogue email. Because of that, some of that trust has now been diminished.

So my advice is review all of the third party apps you use, whether it be Google, Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. Consider revoking access to some of the sites you don’t use very often or are suspicious about. Think twice before you allow a new third party app to use/see your data. Change your password regularly. And never click on a link that you deem suspicious.

Privacy concern for children as apps share personal data

Late last year, the Sunday Age reported about the instance of smartphone and tablet apps sharing uer information, including location and phone numbers with third party sources.

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim told Fairfax Media he was “very concerned” following the release of a US Federal Trade Commission study on children’s apps this month, which reported that hundreds of the most popular apps failed to provide parents with basic information about their data collection practices.

The report said the apps often transmitted the precise location and unique serial code of a mobile device as well as the phone number and other personal details to app developers, marketers and advertisers. This information could be then used to find, contact or track children across different apps or websites without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

Read the whole report here.

How to clean up the apps linked to your social media accounts

Everyone who uses social media will either knowingly or inadvertently allow access to third party apps. ReadWrite Social advises:

So don’t wait until your Twitter account is hacked. Take some time right now to clean things up and eliminate the apps that you no longer use or find relevant to your social networking way of life.

The article gives step by step instructions (via screenshots) on how to eliminate the third party apps that you either forgot about, no longer require or have no idea how they gained access to your account. Worth checking out.

Third party apps and privacy

Often when using Twitter or Facebook, we allow third party apps access to our accounts. These can include apps that publish to Facebook and Twitter on your behalf, such as FourSquare and ioS integration.

Mashable has a good article about which questions you should ask before authorising third party apps.

For managing your Twitter third party apps, click here. For managing Facebook third party apps, click here.