The monitoring capabilities of mobile apps is becoming a growing concern for South African users.
This is according to new research conducted by Kaspersky, which found that 71% of South Africans are uncomfortable with sharing their location information with websites and applications – a figure that has risen significantly from 53% in 2016.
Furthermore, 65% are very concerned that someone can see everything they do or watch them on their device, while 59% fear that someone could track them down using geolocation information from their device.
Kaspersky said that these concerns are well-founded, and its experts have found that apps can not only access a huge amount of data (such as crucial details about where users are, information about their contacts, activities and so on), but they also often work in the background without users knowing.
According to the research, globally 83% of Android apps have access to their owners’ sensitive data, and 96% of Android apps can launch without consent.
Part of the problem, Kaspersky said, was the fact that many South Africans simply gloss over the privacy details that could put their mind at ease.
According to its research, 40% of South Africans admit that they don’t check the permissions of their pre-installed mobile apps on their Android and iOS devices, and 12% don’t check permissions when downloading or installing new apps onto their mobile devices.
“Apps have become an important part of our day-to-day lives. We use them for everything – from editing photos to updating our social media accounts, or from playing games to booking a table at a restaurant,” said Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.
“But this research shows that despite our love for apps, we don’t necessarily trust them.
“While people are certainly becoming more switched on about their apps tracking their online activity, they aren’t necessarily putting measures in place to protect themselves from any potential problems,” he said.