Clear out unused apps for security

Security Jan 22, 2020

It's that time of year when we undertake a spring clean of our homes ready for the year ahead.  Throw out the unused junk, and generally keep things tidy.  This is a practice which should also extend to the apps and programs on your devices.

With ever increasing connectivity, and a lot of our transactions and day-to-day life being internet based, keeping things secure is a must.  Whilst nothing will ever be 100% secure, security is something we should all be mindful of.

Each app or program on a device represents a security hole which might be exploitable.  Think of the amount of personal data you have on your device, and the permissions applications have.  Simple things like accessing media, or files, or anything really, give the application essentially free reign to look over the data in those areas.

You might not be providing the apps with direct information about your name, location, and other personal data, but they might be collecting some of that anyway.  Location data can be available as part of image EXIF data, so applications with access to media might use that to track you and build up their profile of you.

Take a look through the apps on your phone.  How many of them have you actually used recently?  If you haven't used them recently, consider if you really need them.  You can always get them back later if you do want or need them.  If you don't think you need them, uninstall them.

The fewer the number of apps on your device, the lower the attack footprint you have.  Whilst apps are updated regularly and fairly automatically by your device these days, it's not to say there aren't other exploits which haven't been patched yet.

This all sounds highly paranoid, I know.  But sometimes paranoia is a good thing.  The prevalence of online banking and people's overall concern for their data and what websites collect rarely consider their mobile devices.  Also, what about future generations.  If you have kids, and their data are on your device - how well are you protecting them?

A good spring clean also highlights just how many applications are pre-installed on a device, when you try to remove them but can't.  That is hugely frustrating as it's just taking up space on the device you can't get back (thanks, Samsung, for putting OneDrive on my phone!).  it may also increase the battery life of your device as there are fewer apps to consume power.  That has to be a good thing!

Tags