THE BLOG

We've Got An App For That

30/08/2016 14:06 | Updated 30 August 2016

The phrase "we've got an app for that" is a bit of a joke these days, but genuinely it seems that almost all everyday and some not-so-everyday functions have some sort of mobile app designed to make our lives easier.

Whether it be a dating app. an app to control your heating, or an app to manage your bank account, mobile phone apps are taking over as we demand more and more of our smart devices.

Last week I read an interesting article about the growth of political apps, which is especially relevant as the United States prepares to go to the polls in what looks to be one of the most divisive and acrimonious presidential elections ever.

Political parties around the world are constantly looking for new ways to engage with their constituents and possible voters and appealing to the millennials, as they become the voting power in most developed nations, can be the difference between success and failure. Young people between the ages of 18 and 35 make up about 31 percent of the eligible voting population in the U.S., and they will soon be the largest group in the electorate.

But while apps certainly make our lives easier in many ways, do we ever stop to think about the security implications of them?

For example, do you ever check what permissions the apps you download from the iTunes or Google store requires you to give? Just why does your torch app need access to your contact lists or location? Or why does your heating app need access to your phone records?

Never thought about it?

Well, you are definitely not alone as most people simply click "OK" without reading the terms and conditions or what they are giving permission for.

Of course, just because an app asks for these sorts of permissions does not mean there is necessarily anything underhand going on, but it seems the more convenience driven we become with our technology, the more casual we become with our digital profiles.

Mobile apps are an important consideration in the broader digital shadow we share with the world; they are yet another vector through which data can escape an organization. This consists of exposed personal, technical or organisational information that is often highly confidential, sensitive or proprietary.

The trouble is cyber criminals and hostile groups can exploit information found in a digital shadow to find your organization's weak points and launch targeted cyber attacks.

People are the soft underbelly of any organization and, unfortunately we will never entirely prevent people downloading unsafe apps in the same way as we wont stop people clicking on links in emails and accidentally allowing hackers access to our corporate machines and networks.

Education and awareness certainly play their part in mitigating the risk, but also we need to be aware what we are exposing to the cyber world so we know what our digital shadow is.

By monitoring our digital shadow we can prevent, detect and contain cyber-related incidents by analysing the organisation we work for through an attacker's eye view. With tailored and specific threat intelligence that alerts a business to potential threats, instances of sensitive data loss or compromised brand integrity.

Any use of the web, either directly or via a mobile app, creates some risk to our private data and to the businesses we work for. But by looking at cyber situational awareness we can have some advanced warning of threats and have confidence that mirrors the convenience of the all-conquering app.

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