Most of the online messaging apps available today are considered relatively safe because they use encryption when sending messages. However, Android users may face cyber attacks due to the Accessibility Service feature built into the operating system.
Hackers may use this feature to collect user data. In particular, the virus protection software Kaspersky detected a tracking application last year that could receive text messages sent via instant messaging apps using this standard Accessibility Service.
Kaspersky recommends that smartphone users adhere to the following rules to protect their data:
- Avoid downloading messaging applications from third-party sources and make sure to download them from the official application stores.
- Make sure, as much as possible, to familiarise yourself with the user agreement. There are some apps whose developers explicitly warn that they may share user data with third parties.
- Do not open suspicious links in messages, even if they were sent by familiar sources.
- Take care to use security solutions on the mobile phone.
- Pay attention to the permissions granted to the apps when downloaded. If the required permission is not necessary for the full operation of the app, caution should be exercised. For example, it goes without saying that a flashlight app does not require access to a microphone.