Data Theft: NITDA warns Nigerians on mobile health applications

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has warned Nigerians on mobile health applications stealing data and evading privacy.

This was contained in a document titled “Advisory on Mobile Health Applications Data Theft and Privacy Infringement” sent to Okay.ng on Thursday.

It reads: ”The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) wishes to call on the attention of the general public to the fact that there are increasing risks of data breach through the mobile applications (apps) downloaded on our phones.

”This has become more worrisome as current research has revealed that large numbers of mobile health applications are found to encourage data theft, thereby infringing on your 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.

”Therefore, the NITDA invites the general public to take the following precautions to prevent privacy and security risks, while using mobile health applications:

  1. Users should avoid downloading apps from third party source.
  2. 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.
  3. Users should read apps permissions before and after installation to protect themselves from data exploitation.
  4. Ensure apps available for download in Nigeria should have privacy policy that is Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR)-compliant.
  5. Users can customize the settings, which will potentially restrict the amount of information disclosed to the apps.
  6. Users must consider downloading apps that offer better privacy protection.
  7. Prohibit accessing data over unsecured Wi-Fi network or hotspot.
  8. Install firewalls and anti-virus to protect against virus/malware-base attacks and malicious application.

”For further enquiry, kindly contact the Head, NITDA Computer Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) on cerrt@nitda.gov.ng, support@cerrt.ng, or 08178774580.”

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