Most apps found on Google Play and Apple stores are assumed to be safe for users to download and use. While it’s true that the two leading smartphone service providers try their best to protect consumers from harmful apps, they sometimes fall short. In that case, it’s up to the consumers to protect themselves. Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time to research apps before downloading them. This comes with a considerable risk of having their personal data/identity stolen and misused by hackers. In other cases, these apps can transmit harmful viruses to their devices, causing them to malfunction. For that reason, this article highlights some commonly used apps that consumers should think twice before having them on their phones.

1. TikTok

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the TikTok app really picked up and was the majority’s favorite app. However, as it gained popularity in the West, TikTok’s data collection measures became suspicious. This app is suspected of passing users’ data on to the Chinese Government. It’s why TikTok CEO was grilled by US senators earlier in 2024. Even though TikTok does not transmit malicious viruses, it collects a lot of data, including IP addresses, Wi-Fi access points, and hardware IDs.

2. Facebook

Despite being one of the oldest social media platforms, Facebook is known to be a time waster, with some studies associating it with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Also, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook was exposed for leaking data from 87 million profiles. This leak was probed by the United States Federal Trade Commission.

Besides the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there have been several other data breaches on Facebook, meaning user information is at a higher risk of being obtained by malicious individuals. It is also important to note that Facebook can access a person’s messages, calendar, contacts, and audio files.

3. CamScanner

When this app was first launched, it seemed like it was heaven-sent for most people, especially those who work from home and don’t have a printer or fax machine. It allows users to scan documents with their phone’s camera and send them as PDFs.

However, in research conducted by antivirus company Kaspersky, it was discovered that CamScanner has a virus that downloads other malware depending on the creator’s intention. This malware in CamScanner is encrypted; therefore, it’s impossible to notice or detect.

Those who downloaded and used CamScanner may have noticed highly intrusive ads and may have been signed up for paid subscriptions. The app was briefly removed from Google Play Store but was reinstated later.

4. YouVersion Bible

On the surface level, YouVersion Bible is a simple app that gives users access to biblical scripture. However, a closer look reveals the app collects information such as contacts and location from the consumer’s phone. This app has been designed to connect and disconnect from Wi-Fi on its own. Upon inquiry, YouVersion Bible developers claimed they collected user information to improve service delivery. However, the main reason they do that is to send customized ads.

5. IPVanish

IPVanish is one of the most popular VPNs on the app store. It masks the user’s IP address while allocating it to another from a different location or country, making it a pretty nifty tool for many smartphone users.

However, the app comes with its fair share of risk. In 2018, IPVanish was accused of sharing customer data with the United States authorities. The proceedings were aired by a popular YouTuber, Lee TV, who later deleted that video. IPVanish has since maintained that it adheres to strict data privacy policies, but it is hard to take their word for it after such an incident.

6. Angry Birds

Angry Birds was the most popular app on the App Store in 2010. This game was loved by kids and adults so much that an Angry Birds movie was released later on in 2016. The problem with Angry Birds started when Edward Snowden leaked information that the company was sharing personal data about its users.

At first, people didn’t believe the whistleblower until news about the US National Security Agency collecting data from this game with the British Authorities was aired. Those who still have Angry Birds on their phones must know that this game collects call logs, phone numbers, IP addresses, and political information.

7. GasBuddy

GasBuddy is a useful app that can help users save a lot of money at the pump. However, it is a double-edged sword – the app collects plenty of user information. For instance, it monitors speed, braking habits, and acceleration distance. In its defense, GasBuddy has included this in its privacy policy, but doesn’t this information seem excessive? What else are they collecting?

8. UC Browser

UC Browser is exceptionally fast, so many smartphone users like it. However, it is not a safe app. Developed by Alibaba, the UC Browser does not encrypt data when transmitted via the internet, making it easily accessible to hackers. There are much better browsers with guaranteed security available today.

9. Dolphin Browser

There are so many things that can go wrong when using Dolphin Browser. First, it leaks the IP address even when connected to a VPN. Then, it saves incognito mode browsing sessions and makes the device easily trackable.

10. RT News

This is a news app operated by the Russian Government. Unlike most news apps, the stories shared on RT News are heavily biased and are designed to promote propaganda. Western agencies like the CIA have made numerous allegations that the information shared on this platform is false and intended to taint the image of the West.

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Last Update: May 14, 2024