With Instagram surpassing Twitter in popularity, it’s a good time to warn users about downloading potential problems with their pictures and videos.
Instagram apps users could be exposed to a number of security vulnerabilities, says security firm Malwarebytes. The firm says possible threats – files and websites alike – that take advantage of a software’s popularity could spell bad news for users in terms of internet congestion, unwanted redirection to websites and possible installation of other programs without the user’s consent.
Malwarebytes believes Instagram is a growing concern for Internet users, since eMarketers reported in March that Instagram surpassed Twitter in active mobile users in the U.S. and user numbers should steadily grow to 2016. With the growth in the “photo” sharing software and the growth of video posting in YouTube and Facebook, there are a number of apps becoming available my be facing similar problems.
Smartphone and mobile applications (apps) make life easier, placing dozens of useful tools and entertainment choices in the palm of your hand. However, with new apps being developed almost daily, users need to be more conscious about the legitimacy of apps, particularly those that collect or access personal information. Better Business Bureau (BBB) urges consumers to make smart choices when downloading apps, making sure the apps don’t take more information than what is needed to do the job, give unintended permissions, or contain malware.
According to a 2013 Nielsen report on mobile consumers, 62 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. use apps, with social networking app usage being the strongest having 85 percent of smartphone owners as regular users. Maps/navigation/search and productivity apps also rank high in usage, as well as games.
- Viddy – video-sharing options look and feel like Instagram. Features include Facebook Timeline integration.
- SocialCam – This popular video-based service has a “leaderboard” function that shows most followers on SocialCam.
- Klip – Is the closest mash-up of Instagram and Pinterest you’ll see. It’s an iPhone-only app, with ability to connect Klip to YouTube.
- Looplr – It allows for simple “shoot, share, and watch” capability from your phone, supported by Pinterest-style viewing Web interface.
- Tout – Tout is more of a “Twitter for video sharing” app, enabling users to upload 15-second video status updates.
Other video sharing apps include Veetle, MyVidster, Shufflr, Chill and Frequency.
Smartphone users should consider the following 10 tips before downloading apps:
- Research companies, apps and developers before downloading apps.
- Readprivacy policies before agreeing to theterms and conditions. Understand how your information will be used and secured.
- Consider opting out of location sharing. However, some apps, like maps and compasses, may need geo-location information to work properly.
- Check privacy settings on your smartphone and keep them as high as you can without altering the functions of apps.
- Update apps when new versions come out. Often, app updates fix problems from earlier versions. However, take the same precautions with updates as you would with new app installations.
- Delete apps you no longer use or need.
- Stay away from discontinued apps.
- Read user reviews before downloading apps.
- Download apps through official app stores, not alternative or third-party markets.
- Use security and antivirus programs on your smartphone, just as you would on a computer. Search official app stores for reputable anti-virus options.