Be A (H)App(y) Mom
Now that we Moms are becoming tech-savvy, it would be cool to be conversant with the terms related to gadgets we use. One term frequently bandied around is that of apps. Quite a few people have hazy notions about an app. So, let’s demystify apps today, shall we?
An app or application is basically a software program that can run on your computer, your phone or any other internet-enabled device that are designed to execute a particular task. One good example is the Angry Bird game that you download on your mobile or PC and play. The apps for smartphones actually help the phones to act like microcomputers. Today, there are apps for everything, starting from games, to GPS systems, virtual tattoo parlours, store finder, Facebook for smartphones, and what not!
Though apps have been around for quite some time, the launch of Apple’s App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch in July 2008 established a trend of manufacturer-hosted online distribution for third-party applications focused on a single platform.
Today many apps are offered free while the rest carry a price tag. But remember, ‘free’ doesn’t always mean ‘cheap.’ There may be membership charges as well as uploading and downloading charges. More sinister, there may be cookies attached to free files intended to steal information from your phone or simply crash it.
I can see the question hovering topmost in your mind. Can these apps be dangerous? Unfortunately, yes. The third party apps have become the favourite hunting ground for malicious hackers, and they are now focussing mainly on five popular third-party applications, including:
- Java Runtime Environment (JRE)
- Adobe Flash
- Adobe Acrobat and Reader
- Internet Explorer
- Apple QuickTime
With the cumulative number of unique malware samples exceeding the 75 million mark, (McAfee Q4 2011 Threat report), one could inadvertently download a virus or malicious cookie as well while downloading a file or an app.
So how do you use them yet stay safe at the same time? Follow the golden rules:
- Install mobile security software on your phone. I recommend McAfee mobile security that will not only protect your phone and data, but also scan all apps for authenticity before allowing you to download them.
- Verify the source of each app
- Password protect your computer and smartphone
- Do not allow any app to change your browser settings
- Install McAfee site advisor on all internet connected devices. This free software informs you whether the website you are visiting is safe or not.
Happy (h)app(y) time, ladies!