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Cybersecurity Strategies

How To Stay Cyber-Secure When Downloading & Using Apps

By October 18, 2021March 30th, 2024No Comments

We’re more connected to our phones now more than ever. They have become an important part of our everyday lives. From watching our favourite shows to getting life updates from our friends on social media to ordering food, we use our phones and the apps in them for almost everything. Thus, they contain vast amounts of personal data such as photos, call history, and other personal information. These pieces of information combined with our continued reliance on our smartphones leave us vulnerable and make them the perfect target for malicious individuals and cyber attacks.

Most of the time, we are unaware that we are vulnerable to cyberattacks due to their subtle nature. Therefore, to remain cyber secure we need to be aware of threats that pose a risk to our devices.

Here’s a brief overview of the most common type of cyber attacks on our smartphones. Common threats to your smartphone:


Phishing or – fraudulent phone calls, emails, texts, and even social media messages is one of the most common types of cyberattack. Cybercriminals aim to get you to release your personal information by convincing you that they are a legitimate company or person. Most of the time, they pretend to be a representative from a government agency like CRA or a private organization like your bank to trick you into giving up information only you would know. You can become their victim wherever and whenever you are by email, phone calls, and text messages because our smartphones are constantly connected to the internet. Thus, it is important to recognize potential phishing scams.


Unsecured Wi-Fi

Cybercriminals know that it is always appealing to connect to free Wi-Fi. Therefore, cybercriminals create malicious fake networks that look harmless and function like the network you want to connect to. Disguising dangerous Wi-Fi networks as legitimate networks like the public Wi-Fi at your favourite hangout spot is another type of subtle cyberattack that targets your data. You can protect yourself by ensuring that you are connecting to a secure network and doesn’t require any of your personal information. If you’re unsure of what network to use, ask an employee for their official network, or better yet, use a VPN anytime you connect to public networks to avoid spoofing and protect your data.

Malicious Apps

Malicious apps are fake apps that look and function exactly like real applications. They look harmless at first, but cybercriminals use them to sneak malware into your device to gain access to your personal information.

Let’s dive deeper, how do cybercriminals use these apps and how you can stay cyber secure to enjoy using your favourite apps on your phone.

Look out for spam or phishing attempts that are disguised as apps Unfortunately, cybercriminals are attempting to trick Canadians into downloading fake apps related to COVID-19. They disguise the apps to look like the Government of Canada’s official COVID-19 exposure notification app when truthfully these apps are pieces of ransomware designed to hijack data from whoever downloads it. Afterward, cybercriminals demand a ransom for the stolen data. However, even if the victim pays, there is no guarantee that their data will get restored. When it comes to downloading apps, the best way to stay safe is to use your judgment and exercise caution. Apps should only be downloaded only from reputable sources. And even then, there’s still a chance it could be malicious.

Stay safe while using Apps

Downloading apps is just one of the many ways that your phone’s security can become compromised. Even legitimate apps present their risks such as, collecting your data and sending it to another entity. Permissions are also another issue with apps. We get so many requests from apps to grant access to information like our location, and images or device features like our cameras and microphone that we automatically grant apps permission without thinking. It is critical to be aware of the permissions you give each app and the data they can access. When it comes down to granting access and permissions, you want to limit them to the very minimum you’ll need for things to function.

Get Cybersecurity Apps

One of the best ways to protect yourself from malicious apps is to download a security app. Download legitimate cyber security apps, like anti-virus or VPN applications that help protect you from malicious software, websites, and other malware in disguise.

Our phones have become a necessity in our lives and at the end of the day, staying vigilant is the best way to remain cyber secure.


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Content Source and Photo: Phone cyber security: An introduction – Government of Canada – 2021