Online Scams Can Occur Any Time, Anywhere

Trap App

Trap App

Nate Husen, Reporter

Thanks to that new flashlight application you installed on your smartphone, you finally found your keys hiding under your bed. A data miner in Beijing is also happy after having sold your passwords and personal information that he pried off your phone by using that app.

These scenarios are far more common than you’d expect, according to William Smith, professor of Computer Information Systems at Tulsa Community College, who provides tips on how to keep your electronic devices safe from hacking.

The first recommendation is to note which app store you are on. The Google Play store is, according to Williams, “less effective” at vetting apps before they become available and is not active in tracking problem apps before a customer runs into trouble. On the other hand, the Apple Store, he says, has a “rigorous” testing process, during which monitors check what an app can do, how it performs, and how the app affects the phone.

Once you’ve downloaded these apps, you are at risk of any number of tactics designed to weasel you out of money and information. Hackers can target your contacts, use your camera and microphone, or, in the worst cases, route you to websites rigged with ransomware to hold your phone hostage until you pay money with PayPal, bitcoin or some other means.

Williams says people who want to guard against these atrocious applications should read reviews, understand that an app offering something for free is likely a farce, and use common sense. If you run into issues with an app, Williams recommends you “report it as soon as possible,” so the phone manufacturer can remove it from the store.

At Bixby High School, where 75 percent of students have been issued Chromebooks, you may have downloaded a harmful app on your chromebook. If that’s the case, take it to the Spartan Help Desk to get it fixed