Photos weren’t enough to worry about; videograms make way to mobile devices

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s Chief Storyteller

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.

Now, with the change in posting popularity, it’s time to consider what’s on the horizon for smart “video” apps. According to PRDaily, these are the next “Instagram for video” apps to watch for:

  • 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.

 

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1 Comment

Filed under News You Can Trust

One response to “Photos weren’t enough to worry about; videograms make way to mobile devices

  1. Mark Burrows

    The greatest pitfall people fall into is their eagerness to try something new. Many do not realize that they probably already have programs and apps that do the job, it is just they have not taken the time to research and understand what programs and apps they have purposes are.
    Now, I attempt not to show favoritism to software products because I do not care to use this site as a venue for reviews, but I am going to break my policy in this case. I am a customer of Malwarebytes. They do offer a variety of programs, but like any security software company, don’t feel it is necessary to purchase everything they sell. The rule of not putting all of your eggs into one basket applies here. All of their stuff is great, and their main program doesn’t drag down your CPU while it runs in the background which puts it above many their peers. Still where their other programs they have for purchase may do the job, they may not be as efficient as another software manufacture that specializes in that specific type of a program. The only advantage of using a suite of programs from the same manufacture is you have instant compatibility without meddling about with the preferences of everything else.
    Anyway, back to the issue. There is for too much cute stuff out there, and far too much of it appeals to our vanity. Therefore, we are easily targeted to be victims of all sorts of malicious internet activity.
    For every good app or program, that there is, there are at least a hundred bad ones, and believe me, they won’t cost you anything to add to your computer, smartphone, tablet, or any such device. Free, the greatest sucker word in existence. If it costs, your natural instinct is to wonder what makes it so important that you have to pay for it and that gives you cause to investigate. Yet if it is free, well, free is free, why look a gift horse in the mouth? Well, simple that gift horse just might turn into a Trojan Horse.

    Mark Burrows

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