No doubt we’re living in a golden age of technology options for musicians. Whether we’re talking tuners, recorders, tabs, metronomes, virtual tour assistants, virtual tutors, or virtual songwriting assistants, you can have it all on a single device that fits in your pocket. But with great power comes great responsibility — that is, the responsibility to make sure you know what’s up with things like data collection and security.
When it comes to mobile data, over 70 percent of Google and iPhone apps collect your data and share it. How does this affect you? For the most part, companies use your data to either improve the app or to tailor ads and special offers to you. Based on your location, you may see both ads and special offers pop up for particular stores. If you use a recording app that relies on ad revenue, unless you pay the developer something, you’re probably used to seeing ads and you’re probably used to ignoring the majority of them.
But beware of apps that ask for unnecessary data, such as access to your contacts, location, and calendar. What would a tuning app need that information for? App companies sell this data to third parties, many of whom simply want to make money from it, but there’s a possibility the data could get leaked to someone who shouldn’t have it.
A study from Appthority found that data mining is a bigger threat than malware. It comes down to how safe your data is while the app and third parties are sharing it with each other. If even one party doesn’t use encryption, chances are a hacker is looking at that data and mining for sale on the Dark Web. Even if they do use encryption, hackers are adept at accessing particularly valuable troves of data in the cloud.
Don’t give an app permission to access data it doesn’t need. If an app won’t work unless you give it access to data it doesn’t need, uninstall it. There will always be an alternative app for your purposes.
Even though you’re more likely to see your data stolen by sharing it with apps, there’s always the chance you could end up with malware on your phone or computer if you download the wrong app. Malware can mess all sorts of things up. It can constantly monitor your activities and steal data whenever you enter it. Malware can render your phone inoperable, or it can cause annoying screens to pop up until you do what the screen is asking you to do. Do what it says, and your financial data is lost.
Panda Security recommends you do a number of things to make sure you’re downloading apps safely, and one that particularly pops out is the warning not to download pirated apps. Every musician really interested in delving deep into recording knows that quality software is expensive. It’s extremely tempting to download a torrent. But cyber criminals often embed malware in stolen apps. You’re far better off going with the trial version of software and coughing up the money if it’s the app you really need.
As far as mobile security goes, Panda recommends the following:
● Get anti-malware software on your phone.
● On your Android, open “Settings”, go to “Application Settings”, and uncheck “Unknown Sources” — this will make it so you can only download apps that are legit.
● Don’t buy a “jailbroken” iPhone from somebody, and don’t let anybody jailbreak your iPhone because of its supposed benefits. If you download a lot of apps, jailbreaking your iPhone will leave it susceptible to malware
Malware infections on smartphones went up by 83 percent in 2016, so this is definitely something to watch out for.
Don’t download too many apps, it increases your chances of contracting malware and increases the volume of your personal data available to prying eyes. Don’t give apps permission to access data if that access doesn’t have anything to do with the app’s function. Think about whether you really need it before you download an app. The more you come to depend on apps, the less you can depend on yourself.
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