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Online Activity Brings Security Threats...Townships Should Review Cyber Policies

Wednesday August 5th, 2020

Let’s face it, your smartphone probably knows more about you than you do! It knows where you are always. It knows every person you talk to and what you said to them. It has your family photos, pictures of your pets, your passwords, and more. For attackers, it serves as a digital passport to access everything they would need to know about a person. 

Recently, the TikTok mobile application has been in the news about its ability to convey location, image, and biometric data to its Chinese parent company, which is legally unable to refuse to share data with the Chinese government. TikTok can be used for espionage, censorship, and foreign influence as a result of its collection of user data. 
Other apps that are known spyware or contain malware are FaceAppa photo editing application created by a company based in Russia; FM Radio app, which exploits FM radio broadcasts for malware deployment; and CamScannerwhich imitates a scanner with your phone but contains malware. 
It is strongly recommended that TikTok and other apps with known spyware and malware not be installed on any device that is accessing township email, files, or applications, including personal devices. Mixing business applications with apps that are known spyware or have been created by unknown third parties puts your township’s data at risk.  

We must secure and protect our mobile devices just as we do our PCs and laptops. Townships should review their computer and mobile device policies and remind township officials and staff about the importance of protecting township data.