Too often we become consumed with downloading the latest app or software and don’t give it much thought. To be honest, users rarely read the end user license agreement (EULA), let alone consider where the program itself was made. This has become a problem. Not only for the user’s security, but it could create a larger security issue, depending on where app development is located.
Who Really Gets Access?
Where software is made can be pivotal for an array of reasons, but first and foremost is access. If you have an application installed on your mobile device, smartwatch, or computer that is developed, supported, or headquartered in a foreign country, you are giving them access to various pieces of information. This may include, but is not limited to the following:
- Personal or professional login credentials
- Information stored within the device
- Tracking rights
- Access to your camera and/or microphone
- And more…
Understandably, some platforms and programs need to have access to various elements, to function. For instance, the Office app must be able to open documents, otherwise it is rather useless. But let’s dive deeper. Because the app can access documents to open them for the user, is there a bigger risk the company can abuse this power and collect additional data from within the device? Possibly. This is why it’s important to understand the reputation of the app developers, as well as where they are located.
We’ve all heard about TikTok. What some may not know, is this is a Chinese developed social media platform, which also have ties to the Chinese Communist Party, meaning any and all data gathered from TikTok can be shared with the Chinese government. This includes personal information tied to a user’s profile, video content, images, and more. Again, where apps are developed matters.
Apps That Need All Access
The best rule of thumb is to only grant access to the information and/or programs needed for the app or software to serve its designated purpose. But what about applications that really do need to “see” everything, like cyber security solutions? Security software is one example of a program that does need access to everything. It must know when a file is opening, have access to scan files and images for security risks, monitor emails for malicious threats, evaluate new download requests for malware, and so much more.
Given the inherent need for security software to have access to everything on the device, users must be cognizant of where their security software is made. From China and Russia to England and the US, where software is made matters. Do you know who is getting access to your information? After all, it’s important to stay safe out there and the first step of doing so is discovering where your security software is made.