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NITDA warns on mobile health Apps’ data theft, privacy infringement

By Ijeoma Olorunfemi

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has warned that there are increasing risks of data breach through the mobile applications downloaded on phones, especially of mobile health applications.


Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Cooperate Affairs and External Relations of the Agency, said this in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja.


Umar said the data breach was discovered in a recent research that revealed large number of mobile health applications found to encourage data theft, thereby infringing on privacy.


“The mobile health applications, mostly available on android platforms and downloaded through google play store, handle increasingly sensitive data over unsecured Internet communications and third-party servers.


“These sensitive data collected pose security threats to users as most of these apps do not only access data, but also share accessed data with third parties.


“NITDA invites the general public to avoid downloading apps from third party source to prevent privacy and security risks while using mobile health applications.


“Users should examine apps before they download them to understand the level of information the app requests for.


“This can be done by evaluating reviews by other app users,” Umar said.


She also warned that users should read apps’ permissions before and after installation to protect themselves from data exploitation.


According to her, cell phone users should ensure apps available for download in Nigeria should have privacy policy, that is, be Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR)-compliant.


She added that users could customise the settings, which would potentially restrict the amount of information disclosed to the apps.


“Users must consider downloading apps that offer better privacy protection, prohibit accessing data over unsecured Wi-Fi network or hotspot.


“Install firewalls and anti-virus to protect against virus, malware-base attacks and malicious application”.


She advised the public to contact the Computer Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) of the agency on;; or 08178774580 for further enquiries. (NAN)

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