Apps, MMS and SMS allow you to share media and use the Internet to deliver highly specific information and functions on your mobile device. But be aware that they could also offer opportunities for fraud, malware and predators.
When you know the online file sharing risks, you can take a few precautions:
Never open MMS attachments from unknown or untrusted sources. Never click the links or call phone numbers that are embedded in these suspicious messages, even if they're from your bank or cell provider. Increasingly, MMS and SMS text messages are being used to phish, spread viruses, and link to malicious websites. Mobile viruses and malware won't just compromise your information, OS, email and Internet connection. They can also destroy contact info, calendar entries and send infected MMS and SMS messages to your contact list.
Don't use text messages to send personal or sensitive information.
The same is true for downloading content and exchanging information with websites – only interact with reputable sites you know and trust.
Only download apps from sites or sources you trust – try to stick to the default source of apps for your mobile device or official website.
Look into an app and the permissions it requests before installing. Use your common sense to match an app's functionality to the information it wishes to access from your mobile.
Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL) prohibits the installation of software without consent, including apps on phones, and requires software developers and distributors to clearly identify themselves and describe the program. Beyond that, if the software collects personal information or performs other functions listed in CASL, they must clearly describe those functions in a form separate from the licence agreement. Find out more at www.fightspam.gc.ca.
Beware of apps developed by companies that provide little or no information about themselves or don't provide contact details, website or email information. Even apps that seem legitimate can often contain destructive viruses or be used to collect your personal data for gain. Even more so for unregulated and third-party apps.