Can Apps be used to steal Your Personal Information?

Joy Mali is an active blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances. Follow her to know on how to prevent identity theft and other scam.
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No one can deny that we live in the age of technology, with nearly half of all Americans owning a smartphone, computer and regularly subscribing to internet access. This technological boom has created many great benefits – and risks. The newest trend in identity theft is the use of apps, even though you can download them from what you would think to be a safe legitimate source, some of them aren’t what they are advertised to be.

Application stores are home to thousands of apps. There are application stores for our phones and our computers. Some of these stores have people that approve the apps before they are offered from the site, some do not. Even if there are people approving the apps, malicious code can still sneak through undetected due to the newness of the method. Apps are generally screened for content, not for the code used to create the app. Can you imagine how expensive apps would be if the companies hosting the app stores had to hire a team of developers to screen each one thoroughly for threats and malware?

It is always a good idea to be aware of what is going on out there. Apps are a very clever way to essentially plant a Trojan horse. We open up our computers and our phones to these apps, and most of the time it is safe, but when it isn’t, you may not even know. This is why it is so important for us, the users of this technology to use it to watch out for these threats by monitoring our credit reports. It may not be possible to prevent identity theft for everyone, but if you’re watchful you can be much safer than those who don’t pay attention.

How does it work?

So what is the big deal? These applications I am talking about have code that either on your phone or computer basically “digs in” and hides itself, then starts to record information. With all the websites out there that you can purchase items from, it is highly likely that you will at some point enter your personal information into your phone or computer. When those items are infected, there can be a data breach, and though you think your information disappears into the payment, it is actually saved on your device.

The person who created the code then knows how to access that recorded and saved information, and then they have everything they need to commit credit

card fraud and identity theft against you. These apps can be saved on your phone when you think you are downloading a fun game, but turn to attack and take over your computer the next time you plug it in to save music or photos or sync the device. These malware programs can then turn your personal computer, a private thing, into a broadcasting station that makes your private life very public to the people who would use that information for theft.

Malicious extensions, what are they?

It was recently reported that users of web browsers (the software you use to surf the internet) are being heavily targeted. Extensions are programs, a lot like apps, that are used to have your web browser perform extra tasks. Extensions are used to do anything from help online shoppers keep track of their wish lists to changing the look of your browser or even make it perform faster.

Developers can offer extensions in an app store or anywhere online. Toolbars which are commonly downloaded to enhance the browsing experience or advertise can also contain the malware that will bring the Trojan programs into your computer. Tech bloggers report the malicious extensions, but the rate with which they are uploaded far exceeds the abilities of the people looking for them to get them all removed in time.

So how do you protect yourself?

Diligently managing your personal information is the best defense against the theft of it. No one is going to stop downloading apps or extensions on their computers and cell phones because they have become a part of our culture and everyday lives. To prevent id theft, monitoring your credit reports is still the best method available. When you monitor your credit, you will be more aware of what is and is not normal on your reports. Knowing what to look for (abnormalities) and where (your three credit reports) is one of the very best ways to stay ahead of the thieves. With diligent monitoring of credit reports, you will know if there have been requests for lines of credit that you did not make, and then can alert the proper authorities to protect yourself.

So what do you think about all this? Please feel free to comment on this post and weigh in on this matter, or share this with your friends so that they are aware of the security risks that are out there. Knowledge is power.


  1. Twitter:
    I Agree being careful is the best cure…these days there are no limits of what anyone could do to steal information
    Suraj Ramnani recently posted..Far Cry 3: Mushrooms in the DeepMy Profile

  2. Twitter:
    In my opinion apps could be used to steal informatoin. One should keep a regular check on the data transfer of app , one has installed. And also read reviews on Store before installing them.
    myles recently posted..Best Ways to Record Screen on Android PhoneMy Profile

  3. Twitter:
    Hey joy,
    Nice post and Thanks for sharing this post. Yes, stealing personal information is become common things these days and we have to make sure that we save our personal information properly and I really like the idea of monitoring credit report.
    Sudipto recently posted..Best Android Phone Under 10000My Profile

  4. Twitter:
    yes, prevention is always better than cure.
    If you see any thing suspicious after downloading any of the applications that need internet access for operation, particularly after the installation process, you should check whether your private data is being comprised!
    Yogesh Pant recently posted..Aurora Australis | The Southern LightsMy Profile

  5. Twitter:
    Hi joy
    Ya we must have to be careful about what we are going to download.Most of time when I try to download mp3 file ,the site starts downloading a .exe file .We must aware of these files. these can be malicious. Thanks for nice information.
    Mahendra recently posted..Upcoming movies of Aamir Khan 2013-2014My Profile

  6. Twitter:
    Because I have antivirus installed I suppose I make transactions online. I pay my bills online, is fast and save me a lot of time. All app use secure transfer so they are secure. Best regards from I. C. Daniel
    I. C. Daniel recently posted..Nissan Patrol GR v 1.0 – Farming Simulator 2013 ModsMy Profile

  7. Twitter:
    As apps and mobile tech continues to advance and become the norm, security threats are going to become a legitimate concern. It will become very important to understand how to protect yourself on social media and apps that use our information very soon, better to be ahead of the curve and protect yourself today!

  8. Twitter:
    as android and iphone or you can say smartphones are becoming more and more popular . they are becoming the prime target of hackers, they are trying to steal our information so we should install trusted apps only. we should not blindly choose them
    prabhat recently posted..Subway Surfers for PC Download (New Trick), Subway Surfers for Windows 7/8/Vista/XP ComputerMy Profile

  9. Twitter:
    yes only trusted apps and also should use a good antivirus software program which prevent malware to hit your smartphone.
    joy recently posted..5 Mobile SEO Trends to Watch OutMy Profile

  10. Twitter:
    thanks Joy for such kind of info, today we live in the technology world and here every thing can be happened. there are many apps with the use of these apps hackers can hack your mobile and your accounts so please be careful.
    santosh recently posted..Brain-Controlled Gadgets – not too farMy Profile

  11. The apps we download, really matters a lotAnd we must always prefer trusted apps, well how to lend our personal info to someones hand without even knowing themNice post, keep sharing!!!

  12. Twitter:
    Thanks for this post. Rather scary. However, we must face the danger and fight with all we have. I personally don’t like social login buttons. They always launch an app that wants to do something on my Twitter or Facebook account: download, post etc. I don’t trust them because I fee I lose control on my own account. Whenever there is an alternative, like signing up with my email address, I choose that one instead of those darn buttons.
    I think these apps are just part of a trend that will fade in time. I don’t want to say the apps will disappear from the market. Let me explain a little bit.
    The Chinese have a saying: “When Yin grows too much it becomes Yang. When Yang grows too much it becomes Yin” This means that, when we try to oversimplify things (like we do with these apps ), in time, we will over-complicate them. I think moderation is the key. People and markets will reach a kind of equilibrium and many other solutions will be available.
    Thank you for your time

    Have a nice day
    Silviu recently posted..Fake Twitter Followers Can Hurt Your BusinessMy Profile

  13. Twitter:
    Would like to add some words here about the apps in facebook too. There are a lot apps that we use in facebook including games and so many others but I always avoid using those as those apps can view our personal data in facebook. You never know the one we just installed contains a security threat and might land us losing our sensitive data and facebook id. I particularly hate those apps which claim they can tell us who visited our profile, I always tel my friends not to believe any app that claims to do so as Facebook does not provide that data in any way which is why it makes me suspicious of those apps. There are way too many security threats out there but our best defence is that we stay careful and alert while using any such type of apps. Thanks
    Riz recently posted..What is the difference between download speed and internet plan speedMy Profile

  14. Twitter:
    It is good to read reviews on the Internet and check the ratings before downloading an app. If you’re suspicious that a certain app is being used to steal your personal data, completely remove it from your system and then see if the problem persists. If things are still messing up, the app was probably safe and some other app may be causing trouble. Hope it helped.
    Pitt Goumas recently posted..Common STD Symptoms in WomenMy Profile

  15. Twitter:
    I haven’t used mobile for any banking or purchasing anything for this reason. I don’t believe I have apps on my desktop. Really good topic and advice. Always check your banking and credit card account weekly to be sure there are no charges you did not make. I rarely use apps on Facebook too since many have had issues in the past. I also agree with Silviu and don’t like the social logins and would rather use my email. Great tips Joy!
    Lisa recently posted..Are You Ready For The Next SEO Penguin At Your Blog?My Profile

  16. Twitter:
    i have found many fake apps. like the 1 that says it recharges your android through proximity sensor. its description was very nice but at the end they just wrote 3 words that were .This Is Fake. but i skipped reading it . So i installed but from then onward they send me mails related to some blog posts ! blah !
    harshi recently posted..[Root] Galaxy S Duos | Samsung | Install CMW [How to]My Profile

  17. Kumar Gauraw says:

    There is so much going on that everyday a new trick is coming out aimed at stealing your personal information. Recently, we had this brute force attack on WordPress websites. What can we say about these possibilities?

    The best thing to do is to check ratings, online reviews and do your due diligence before purchasing an APP. Prevention is better than cure and it’s all about being careful…


  18. I know all about these apps. I keep virus scanners on my phone like it’s my computer lol. Great post! Lots of thorough information for the readers!

  19. The malicious apps can steal your phone’s unique ID, model number, and other private information.
    Here’s the list of malicious apps, separated by developer:
    Magic Photo Studio
    Sexy Girls: Hot Japanese
    Sexy Legs
    HOT Girls 4
    Beauty Breasts
    Sex Sound
    Sex Sound: Japanese
    HOT Girls 1
    HOT Girls 2
    HOT Girls 3
    Mango Studio
    Floating Image Free
    System Monitor
    Super StopWatch and Timer
    System Info Manager

  20. Twitter:
    yes this is a serious issue actually. some people blindly install apps on their mobiles and give personal infor to them which is not good. we should use them carefully otherwise it will hurt us
    raj recently posted..Fruit Ninja for pc download, Fruit Ninja for computer (Windows 7/8/Vista/XP, Mac)My Profile

  21. Leslie Edwards says:

    So many different ways today to get personal information.
    It’s the robot takeover apocalypse.

  22. It is good to read reviews on the Internet and check the ratings before downloading an app. If you’re suspicious that a certain app is being used to steal your personal data, completely remove it from your system and then see if the problem persists. If things are still messing up, the app was probably safe and some other app may be causing trouble. Hope it helped.
    Thanks Everybody.
    Moshiur Munna recently posted..Northern University Bangladesh launches Skills Development Program for the StudentsMy Profile

  23. Tony Nguyen says:

    Hi Joy, it is so true that we cannot really know what aps today can steal our information on mobile phone or not, and if we are not aware of that, we might be the target from hackers. Thanks for an informative post, I think people shoud never enter their card information and they should use some anti trojan program on their phones as well.

  24. Twitter:
    It’s a very scary thought, but I suppose with today’s modern tech, it was inevitable that the problem would arise. We all take the our smartphones for granted these days and even just jumping on to some WiFi in a cafe is something a lot of us don’t think about, so it’s no wonder that these things happen, be vigilant and double check everything, that’s what I personally recommend.
    Karen Woodham recently posted..Happy Towel Day – Celebrating The Works of Douglas AdamsMy Profile

  25. All we need is to be careful when we use some apps.
    I think tht’s enough to proteck ourself from stealing our data.

    Nice post, Joy. Seems I like it.
    Ilmu Kimia recently posted..Ekstraksi AluminiumMy Profile

  26. Twitter:
    Hey Joy,

    Among the new posts being posted in this site, this one really caught my attention. With high-end technology making its way today, apps are developed to assist it’s users or owner’s of this technology. Take into consideration the iPad’s, iPhone’s and other android power phones. Yes, these apps give these gadgets or technology a lot of advantage but we should also put in mind that with an advantage comes a disadvantage to it. It’s like a coin which has two sides. Apps are great to have because most apps are more like a help but we should also consider what app is good for us and before purchasing the app, be sure to double check. Being careful won’t hurt you right?
    Farrell John Conejos recently posted..HIMYM: Identity Of Ted Mosby’s Wife Finally RevealedMy Profile

  27. Very good this article, nowadays is must be careful

  28. Twitter:
    Stealing information from your phone using apps you yourself have installed is going to be the next big thing, and most people do not have antivirus software installed on their phones today.
    Johan Bengtsson recently posted..Beef with bearnaise and Keto Diet BBQ partyMy Profile

  29. Mustapha says:

    Well, before installing an apps on android smartphone you have to be carfull and read the full description of it’s authorization. if not the apps can accede to your information : contact, password stored in phone, making calls,…

  30. Twitter:
    Wow!!! Great information.!

    Well, FREE products or software from unknown or untrusted sites or vendors are mostly TROJAN gifts or Malware. Your security requires extra diligence on your part. You can never be too careful when it comes to Identity Theft and Credit Card fraud.

    Well done.
    Ahmed Magem recently posted..It’s Official! Jose Mourinho is Chelsea FC’s new handlerMy Profile

  31. Cesar O Perez-Beato says:

    Oh Lord ! The more we advance in technology the worst. We humans need to start working more on the spiritual level, being technologically advanced is a sign of being totally civilized. Thanks for the great post. Regards.

  32. Amber Moore says:

    I am so glad that I came across your article, because I was just wondering about this the other day. I have some apps that I have downloaded to my phone and they randomly pop up and make my phone malfunction. I made me think about if there could be some type of virus just like on a computer.

  33. Twitter:
    One should be extra cautious while installing freewares. Better avoid them or download those from reputed publishers only.
    Well written post. Thanks for sharing this.
    Subodh recently posted..Delta Search: How to Remove Delta SearchMy Profile

  34. Twitter:
    Android Apps are Not dangerous if you install them from Google Play(Some Smart Coders may Program some Apps into Keyloggers) but Facebook apps are more Dangerous as they ask users abt its permissions
    Ravi recently posted..How to Restore Deleted Files from Recycle Bin?My Profile

  35. Twitter:
    Yes joy you are right, apps collect personal information and some malicious apps steal credit card and other personal details and sends to hackers.They ask permission to use your data and we blindly click on agree button.
    raman bathina recently posted..5 People I Would Love To Connect With In a WeChat GroupMy Profile

  36. I am really super neurotic about these kinds of things. Even trusted apps are not really safe. Whatsapp and blackberry messenger can easily be hacked and the police in my country do it all the time to trace criminals. It scary that what you do in your personal life can easily be viewed by someone it is not intended for.
    Narcis recently posted..Three Things That Suck About EnglandMy Profile

  37. Paul Gopi says:

    Android Apps are not really dangerous. But some hackers used to hijack the API files and Release in INTERNET. Who likes pirated Games and Apps they fell into this trap and loosing their information from the phone.

  38. Ok. Thats really scary. I hope we can use any apps wisely.

  39. Twitter:
    Android apps are almost safe but Facebook apps are sometimes dangerous.
    Ansh Gupta recently posted..5 Mistakes I Made As A New BloggerMy Profile

  40. android apps are safe i gave tried many of them and found safe so android aps are the best.
    pram singh recently posted..Add Video in Place of Profile picture on FacebookMy Profile

  41. Twitter:
    I agree with the author. The apps can be used to steal the personal information on mobiles. Only few apps are to be trusted and we should not allow the app to access the personal information if it requests for access.
    Ajay recently posted..How to use an iPad ? | Awesome Video LessonsMy Profile

  42. Aswin Vayiravan says:

    Rooted phones have greater chances of being compromised , because people with root try to install applications that give users free in app purchases, wifi hacks etc …… , so people with root need to be cautious

  43. Ameer Soliman says:

    This is a great wake up call to anyone who thinks that the mobile platform is safe. Vigilance for private information will be increasingly important and having an excuse of \”I wasn\’t aware\” or \”I didn\’t know I needed to look out for this, it\’s the bank\’s job\” will eventually be run thin. The Banks will eventually let people know that they are responsible get you to sign documents when opening your account that you are liable.A Good way to ensure you are protected from viruses in coding (on android) is to ensure you have your settings to include \’only download apps from Google play\’. Granted, this won\’t stop everything, but may stop the really severe and unrestricted viruses and Malware from getting your details.

  44. There are too many dangerous apps .. They are on the majority on risky websites and some on facebook..
    I believe that apps on google play are actually safe..
    Thanks for this article
    Artiffex recently posted..Μαγειρεύοντας το ρύζιMy Profile

  45. Twitter:
    I completely agree that these apps provide you definitely new tehnology for free but instead they steal your personal information which matters a lot in today’s cyber world.
    himanshu recently posted..How to backup messages on iPhone or iPad using iTunesMy Profile

  46. Twitter:
    On my PC I use security software and a registry cleaner to keep viruses and Trojans at bay, is there an equivalent solution that can be used on a phone?
    Meridith recently posted..The Danger of Neglecting Dll ErrorsMy Profile

  47. Twitter:
    great post. sometimes when I install apps on my android. it asks for gmail or fb login and i get afraid because giving the access to these apps without knowing whether they are good or bad is not right. so we have to be careful while giving access to them.
    Alan recently posted..Download Boat Browser for PC, Boat Browser for Windows7/8/Vista ComputerMy Profile

  48. Twitter:
    this way i’m not going to download a single app :)
    Joe Martin recently posted..Best 5 File manager apps for Android TabletsMy Profile

  49. Twitter:
    I think apps can be used to steal our personal information. We should be very careful while using any app. This post is really nice, tells everything about this. Thanks for sharing this.
    Prakash recently posted..Whatsapp for PC, Whatsapp Para PC, Whatsapp for windows 7My Profile

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