When people start playing mobile games the last thing they think about is their online privacy. It’s just not a fun thing to think about. But while you are busy slicing fruit, or talking like a kitty, there are risks you are putting yourself through.
This article is going to give you an idea of the 5 mobile games that are the worst for your online privacy. It may not stop you from playing, but at the very least you should be aware of the risks you are taking with your data and identity. It may even cause you to go and download a game that actually takes your privacy seriously instead.
5 mobile games with bad online privacy
1: All ‘My Talking Tom’ apps
What’s truly disturbing here is that I rate this as the worst game for online privacy, and it is meant for children. Parents are allowing their children to download this onto their smartphones without realizing what the app even does. Stop and think about this:
- While your child is speaking through their ‘Tom,’ the app is recording everything they say. That’s scary enough. What are your children saying? What are they saying about you? Are they revealing where you live, or any personal identifying information?
- These recordings are sold to advertisers. This creates another server for your child’s recordings to be on, and be vulnerable to hackers.
- Everything that is done on the app is also sent to 8 different targeted ad libraries. Selling your personal information to advertisers is how any app manages to be “free.”
I would like to urge everyone with children to stop and take a second to think about how this app collects data. Specifically, how it collects data about your child. It is worth thinking about at the very least.
2: Clash of Kings
This is a very popular strategy game, and it can be fun. What would make it even funner is if it didn’t violate your online privacy in the following ways:
- Use your Internet connection for mobile analytics and targeted advertising.
- Identify your phone signal carrier, your device ID, and your phone number. Them accessing and storing this data is perfect for hackers and Robocallers that want your number.
- Access your account information on your phone. This is mostly for the game engine, but it gives hackers another access point.
A similar game with a much better online privacy rating is Clash of Queens: Dragons Rising. You get the same swords and dragons fighting, but without the risk to your online privacy.
3: Don’t Tap the White Tile
I have tried really hard to understand the appeal of this game. It’s pretty mindless, requiring no skill, Perhaps it’s an easy way to pass the time. Why you are passing that time the app is:
- Accessing your Internet connection for mobile analytics, targeted advertising, and social profile synchronization.
- Analyzing all of your phone activity, including the phone numbers you are calling, and other meta-data that you create.
- Retrieving information from other apps on your mobile device.
- Closing other apps that are running on your mobile device.
- Modifying or deleting information that it finds on your USB storage.
The easiest way to not tap the white tile is to not play this game, download it onto your mobile device. That is my advice.
4: Farm Frenzy Free
I’m not sure why city people became so interested in virtual farming. I grew up on a farm and farming was just work. It wasn’t a game. Maybe combining could be amusing. What isn’t amusing is how Farm Frenzy Free gives itself access to:
- Your GPS as it records your exact location. Stalkers love this sort of data.
- Your approximate location through network analysis.
- Any recordings you make through your microphone.
- Alteration of your calendar data.
- The ability to write over other apps and alter their data.
My advice here is to go to an actual farm and see what it’s like to do some farming. All that this app is going to do is put some very important information of yours at risk. Real farming will build character.
5: Fruit Ninja
There’s something about apps with very little redeeming value that seems to lend itself to being terrible for online privacy. Fruit Ninja is an app that doesn’t really do anything. You don’t learn critical thinking, you don’t learn strategy, you just slice up fruit. For the joy of doing that you put your online privacy at risk for:
- Seven ad networks having access to your usage data, and all other associated data.
- It requires access to the Internet solely for the purpose of targeted advertising. It is going to use up your Internet data solely to show you ads. The app does not require it for anything else after you have downloaded it. This puts you at a needless risk for Wi-Fi hacking.
- It is given permission to access other accounts on your device. These can be your social profiles and anything else that is on your phone.
- It can access your USB storage alter and right over what it finds there. This is mostly just something he can install itself, but the parameters are poorly defined.
Are you still having fun slicing up virtual fruit? It’s well past time to move on from this app, and it’s terrible online privacy practices.
Online privacy of your mobile games
It’s very doubtful that this article is going to convince anyone to stop playing mobile games. It is my hope that at the very least you stop and consider which games you are downloading, and you take a second to think about what sort of information you are giving them access to.
It’s not all fun and games, there are real world consequences for data that is taken from you. You need to minimize your risk, and know what those risks are.
Marcus is on an online privacy writer whose tweets you can find on the Twitter account of @BestVPNs. If you don’t tweet, visit his blog on the BestVPNProvider.co website to learn more from his weekly column, published every Wednesday. Everyone from businesses, to private individuals, to gamers, can learn.