Popular Child-Tracking Apps Might Be Tracking Parents
The internet is a dangerous place. Anyone can say whatever they want, upload images, and harm whoever they wish to. Some people like to impersonate others and talk to kids with the intent to abuse them. That’s why many parents install tracking apps on their children’s devices.
Parental control apps give you peace of mind that if your child clicks on something terrible, they won’t be able to access it. Plus, the added GPS tracking feature allows you to know where the kids are at all times.
However, recent research shows that parental control apps are not as secure as they seem. These apps often spy on the parents. The team at Cybernews reviewed the top 10 apps with hundreds of millions of downloads, and the results are shocking.
The apps are not secure
The CEO of Prevailion, a cyber intelligence company, compared the apps to making cheap sausage. No one knew what ingredients were used. That’s the perfect way to explain how these child-tracking apps were developed. First of all, most of them didn’t even have SSL certificates.
It made them vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, allowing hackers to intercept data on parent and child devices. The developers could also spy on everything you did while the app was on your device. If the users didn’t have a VPN installed, their information could have been compromised.
Almost all analyzed apps used open-source code. Hackers could examine the code, find vulnerabilities, and exploit the apps to steal information.
Children’s data at risk
When you download a child tracker, you want to know what your kid does online. But, ironically, the apps had additional trackers to see what you’re doing. Here’s where things get dark.
If your child sends sensitive or inappropriate pictures, the app could store them in a database. Developers could collect photographs, emails, passwords, credit card information, and security questions. Data collection always comes with risks – companies can sell all data to someone else. And if they get hacked, this information can be leaked publicly or used for ransom.
What should you do?
Think twice before using parental control apps. If you decide to go for it, thoroughly research the app and the company behind it. Find an app that can secure data and review the permissions it asks on your and your child’s phone.
Moreover, consider your digital privacy beyond the child tracking apps. Most apps on your phone can track you. That’s why having a tracker blocker is a must. You can install one on your kid’s smartphone, too.
Other software to consider for privacy and security are VPNs and antivirus solutions.
The antivirus will scan every file you or your kids download and check whether it contains malware. The VPN will hide your IP address to protect your data on insecure networks or lousy apps and websites that don’t use secure connections.
Finally, learn about cyber threats, cyberbullying, and online scams. Then teach your kids about these dangers too. Parental control apps don’t always consider such risks anyway, but you, as a parent, should.