Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses The Fact That Android Users Were Constantly Tracked Via Their Apps

Android users have been subjecting themselves to continuous tracking, and Google has only now come forward with a fix for its app ecosystem.

For a long time, Google has allowed various apps to monitor network activity on a user’s device, and any app could detect not only other apps on an Android device but also when and where they connect to the Internet. Google Play was filled with hidden trackers, and each downloaded app put the user in a surveillance network.

It still remains to be seen how effective the new fix will be – and what other security holes Android users might encounter.  Up until 2019 – when a new logic regarding the way apps access API (Application Programming Interface) is introduced – most of them will still have unrestricted access to the network activity.

“User tracking without their consent undermines basic  privacy and security,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Apps can monitor network activity even without requesting any sensitive permissions. In addition, this privacy hole could easily be exploited for malicious purposes – for example, when user’s browsing history is collected, their online profile can be created. ”

“Although in this particular case it’s up to Google to protect users’ network activity from being tracked, people should use additional means to safeguard their online privacy. For example, by using a VPN, one ensures they can connect to Internet privately and securely,” Kamden added.

Here are 5 tips from NordVPN on how to keep their Android phone safe:

  1. Make sure not to download fake apps – do not click on phishing messages. Original apps from Google Play may have trackers that sell users’ data to advertisers. However, fake apps are even more dangerous. By implanting fake apps on people’s devices, hackers or even governments can piece together text messages, browsing history, call logs and location data. Targets can be tracked and their data can be stolen, because they downloaded a fake version of messaging apps like Signal or Whatsapp through phishing messages received on Facebook or Whatsapp.

 

  1. Get serious about passwords. Most Internet users reuse the same password across multiple accounts. Once a hacker is able to read one of a person’s passwords, they would be able to unlock all their devices and read their emails, enter their bank accounts, and so on. The best way to go is one of the password managers that generate and store different passwords for each account.

 

  1. Accept all software updates & security patches. Android devices – same way as Apple – have recently revealed processor vulnerabilities, designed to hack a smartphone. The only way to avoid these Intel, AMD and ARM chip flaws is to update the phone whenever newest patches are released.

 

  1. Install a VPN. You might have downloaded apps without malware and installed newest security patches, but all your communications and Internet browsing can still be intercepted if you don’t use a VPN. A VPN safely encrypts all information traveling between a device and a VPN server, and is a must on every device, especially if they are using open WiFi networks.

 

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