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[CyberSecurity Awareness Series] I Will Always Remember You

Have you ever longed for a friend or a partner who remembers you always? Even though you forget him/her, he/she always remembers you. If yes, this story is surely worth your time.

Well, this is a story of two individuals where one never forgets the other. Disappointing as it may be for some, however, this is not a love story, but nevertheless, it is no less than a love story.

Let’s name these individuals – A and B. The identity of these entities will be revealed in the end.

A met B sometime late in August last year. The moment A laid eyes on B, it was clear that this is the one. While A was hesitant in approaching B, it decided to give B a try. Both met each other and both felt that they had struck the right cord at that time.

A and B had understood that they were made for each other. They started spending time with each other. Whatever the case A always decided to connect with B for any work. Day or Night, A and B were always with each other. Their friendship had gone to the next level. A and B had fallen in love with each other.

Nothing lasts forever. And so did the love and romance between A and B. "A" started avoiding "B" and over a period of time and almost forgot everything about B. No one knew what happened. However, B kept its promise and never forgot A.

Days passed, months went by and one day something happened. ‘A’ accidentally met ‘B’ again and was surprised that B had never forgotten about A. In fact, B had kept all the old memories of A intact.

One song that comes to my mind after reading this story is “Me phir bhi tum ko chahunga” from the movie Half Girlfriend. What do you think? 

The Big Question - Who is A and B?

Well, A is an individual like you and me and B is an application or “App” available from the Google Play store or the iOS store. We fall in love with multiple apps nowadays basis the enticing cashback or rewards offers to them. When the offers stop, we generally uninstall them. However, these apps always remember you. 

I will share my own experience with you. This is related to a well-known payment application. I installed it last year and even though I never saved my card details, it saved it automatically. Later, when the offers stopped, and, yes, my love moved on, I uninstalled this application. Recently when I installed the application again, I was shocked to see that my card details were automatically retrieved by the application, the moment I logged in. Although such features add convenience to an application, however, they also raise multiple points related to data retention, storage, misuse, and ownership.

There are multiple such applications today that store such information in their database servers or the cloud. This information is then further shared with multiple third parties to enhance customer experience. This information gets breached when someone in the chain gets duped or hacked, which ultimately affects the end user. Although you may end this relationship by uninstalling the application, the data still remains.

What can be done? – The solution to this problem is simple. Use only one card for every transaction in every such app and this card/account should not have a hefty amount in it at any point in time. Use a separate Google account containing minimal or useless information to sign in to such apps. Wherever possible, provide the least amount of information to any application. In today’s digital world, it is extremely difficult to carry out work without the use of such applications, but, we need to be careful before sharing any information which can affect us in the long run.

Remember, you may forget your application, but the application never forgets you.

What do you think of such cases? What is your viewpoint on the retention of data by such applications?