Ask Andy: Bad apps

By Andy Wise - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Luke Stillar is one of a growing number of cell phone users learning the hard way about malicious apps.

"I have downloaded a couple that made my phone run really slow and do weird things," Stillar said.  "It was an app to check movie times, and as soon as I downloaded it, my phone started doing crazy stuff."

Stillar was lucky to not lose any personal information, but there are apps capable of stealing bank codes, e-mail addresses and other sensitive information from your phone.

While most apps are useful and appear harmless, they are a multi-billion dollar business, making it ripe for thieves and scammers.

Apple has been criticized for its careful review process for iPhone apps, other companies, such as Google's Android, are now being questioned about its more open approach which allows almost anyone to create applications.

One app, that has since been removed, was actually designed to steal bank passcodes.

Executives in the cell phone industry said app security is a top priority.

Simple weather apps could also pose a possible threat.  They use GPS technology and conceivably could take control of a phone, reading text messages and address books.

Smart phone uses like Stillar said they are more cautious about what they download.

"I am pretty picky about which ones I install now," Stillar said.

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