CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - They may look like your average smart phone app, but there's a huge market for "secret" apps or "decoy" apps that can hide someone's activity on their cell phones.
This is an issue for parents who do their best to try to keep tabs on their teens smart phone use.
WBTV Cyber Expert, and CEO of Fortalice, LLC Theresa Payton, says there are many legitimate reasons why a person may want to hide messages on their cell phones. They might be protecting sensitive, personal or work-related information, or safeguarding against phone theft.
However, there are some people using the apps for less pure intentions. Theresa's advice follows:
1. In the kids just having fun category -- Kids just having fun or can they get into trouble?
9Gag - allows you to send memes and pictures online. PICTURES ARE NOT MODERATED. Several 9Gag users are cyberbullies and some "swatting" cases (call 911 and convincing police to raid an innocent person's house) are alleged to have originated on 9Gag.
2. When kids want to hide their messages with others?
APPS FOR IPHONE -
Cover Me – hides text messages, documents, photos, phone calls and more. APP IS FREE
Secret Apps – for $.99. Hides texts, photos and more and will secretly take a picture of anyone that tried to access your files. Looks just like a normal ios app.
APPS FOR DROID -
Vault-Hide – Hides message and data in a vault. Password protected and camouflaged. FREE
Hide SMS – Incoming SMS don't show up on the phone and go into a vault. The vault notifies you. FREE
Hide Text SMS & Calls – Hides your call logs, photos, and texts. FREE
Want to know how big this market is?
Go to your app store and type in 'secret' into the search bar and you will be amazed at the apps you find and the number of times they have been downloaded!
Talk to your kids - make sure they know that once something goes digital, they don't "own" the Text, photo, or message anymore - the internet owns it and the Internet never forgets
For the younger teens, Lock their download feature with parental permission required and notifications to you when an app, paid or free, is downloaded!
Our Word of the Week this week is Ghost Push. It is a new malware which pushes apps to your phone so the "malware creeps" get the credit and you get stuck with other malware tracking you. Go to your favorite security software provider to check your phone or the Ghost Push finder and removal tool at Cheetah Mobile.