Implemented in both the iOS and Android platforms are a plethora of security features to augment the security provided for the user base. A noteworthy yet vital feature related to it is the manipulation of app permissions. When the user is installing an app, the app will ask authorization so that it can avail some features and information from the device. The users must contemplate and determine whether the authorizations can be provided or not.
However, there is a chance that these permissions can result in the invasion of malicious minded entities and some apps installed on the user’s device can accumulate the user’s data for malicious purposes.
Fortunately, there are several guidelines which serve to minimize these risky and unfortunate situations.
App Permissions and their functionality
These authorizations signify the extant of the functionality of an app on the device. To quote an instance, a camera app which is of third party in origin would definitely need to avail the device’s camera.
The smartphone users have granular sway and dominance over the app authorizations related to Android 6.0+ and iOS 6+. However, for basic and simple authorizations, the apps are provided with access related to both the operating systems without any manual consent.
Provided the mobile apps request authorization related to the functionality which could be detrimental to both the product’s functioning as well as undermining the user’s privacy, then the user will be notified as to whether the authorization can be provided for the apps to avail the specific operation.
Typically there are not many variations related to the permissions offered by the Android and iOS platform. Yet, there are some instances related to the dissimilarities related to how each operating system manipulates and administers them.
For android apps, the user base can get to know the app permissions and details well in advance of downloading the app via the Google Play Store. Provided the user has made up the decision to download and install the app, the user will be displayed with a catalogue constituting all the authorizations needed to make the app function.
Provided when the user launches a mobile app and it is requesting the availing of a permission which could result in disastrous consequences, the app will forewarn the user with a notification whether the app can be granted with that specific permission.
This is typical in the case of Instagram which requests the permission to avail the camera of the device so as to take snapshots within the app.
In order to contemplate and view the plethora of the permission groups, which the apps on the user’s device have access to, all the user have to do is access Settings and the followed by Apps. Next, the gear icon on the top right of the screen is pressed.
The user base can then get a comprehension of which permission groups are really detrimental. When this listing is availed, it throws light on the apps which need access to the specific functions so as to implement a given task.
The user can then provide authorization for the apps which were not given the access beforehand or cancel the permission authorization for the apps which were earlier given access.
Provided the user chooses the individual apps via Settings and then Apps, the user can empower or disable the mandatory permissions which the specific app has access to.
Coming to the iOS platform, the venture taken is much simpler related to displaying data related to permissions. Notification related to the users is done only in scenarios where the data could prove detrimental to the device.
Further, information related to the authorizations are not available for view in the iOS App Store. Provided the app requests to access a sequence which could be potentially hazardous, the user base would be notified at once. An elucidation os provided for the user as to why the app requests authorization to access a particular permission.
Similar to Android OS, the iOS users can avail the prime most permission groups and can stop the app’s access by visiting Settings and then Privacy. Modifications can be done with respect to the individual app permissions by choosing the app in the Settings menu for iOS users.
How to Avoid Being Exploited
Provided the apps are authorised, then with regards to accessing, they can access and retrieve data from the device which was not possible typically. In order to function effectively, these permissions are mandatory. However, the permissions could be turned against the users as well by some devious and untrustworthy developers.
This is briefed in further by referring to some quotes
- Malicious Access to Location Data
When an untrustworthy app is provided with access to the location data, then it results in detrimental consequences. Related to the user location, hacking could be done. Further, the user could be linked to a hazardous website which looks like a trustworthy site in the first instance.
- Malicious Access to Contacts
Providing a malicious app with access to the user’s contacts will also lead to bad results. A malicious group can design an app which can access the contact list. Further, the app could generate an email address which transmits an email to the user by manipulating a familiar contact’s name. Although discrepancies can be noted with regards to the contact’s authentic mail and the presently generated one, the users would immediately assume that it is a person whom they know. By this swindling, the malicious users could impersonate a known friend or contact of the user and they could exploit the users to achieve their own desires to the end. The users become aware of the trickery only when it is too late.
- Malicious Access to Storage
Access given to storage is also a headache where depending upon the level of access the app is given to the user’s storage base, the chances are profound that harmful data and the such could be installed in the system and the device.
Steps to counter these scenarios
After going through the aforementioned potentially dangerous hazards, the users are left wondering how to tackle the issue. Below mentioned are several guidelines to protect the users from being swindled.
- Always Inspect Permissions
A lot of focus must be given to the permissions so as to comprehend what is required by them. To quote an instance, when the user finds a game which wants to access the contacts on the user’s device, then the users should be on their toes with precaution. Such apps have to be avoided in the first place.
- Obtain Apps From Reputable Sources
Mobile apps must be downloaded and installed only from a reputed and trustworthy source like the Google Play Store for Android apps and the Apple App Store for the iOS apps. When it comes to third-party app stores, the user base has to be cautious as these stores typically are not integrated with security checks.
- Install an Antivirus
Further, availing an antivirus program is sure to mitigate and discard the threatening features.
Even though the iOS and Android platforms boast of having advanced security features, some malicious minded people will definitely find some ways so as to swindle and trick the user base. A straight on direct attack could be remedied but however a tricky and ingenious indirect invasion by incorporating the app permissions could prove to be very detrimental and disastrous.
Author Bio: Michael Archer is a tech geek who is responsible for designing the popular whatsapp clone script ZoeChat. He likes to venture more into the technological world and be updated with the latest news and happenings. His ZoeChat app has made a great impact in the market. In his free time he likes to play video games, read novels and impart his wealth of knowledge to aspiring youngsters who want to make a mark in the particular field.