By Edward Cardenas

SOUTHFIELD (CBS Detroit) – Law enforcement officials are warning smart phone users to be vigilant when installing apps, and be mindful of what information they allow the programs to have access to on their devices.

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SnoopWall, a cyber security firm, stated on its website that it installed and tested the Top 10 Android Flashlight apps on smartphones and tablets and found that each requested permission to access items including the user’s location, read phone status and view Wi-Fi connections.

“The malicious code that we are worried are more the third-party apps you are willing to voluntarily download,” said Det. Sgt. Darren Ofiara, of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, who spoke at WWJ’s Money Summit.

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The issues with Android are not as prevalent in Apple iOS flashlights apps due to the extra security features in Apple iOS 7 and 8, Snoopwall reported.

While this study coincides with the release of Snopewall’s privacy flashlight app, it also highlights a larger issue of what information users allow apps to access on their phones.

Among the universal tips Snoopwall suggests to avoid being infected with spyware, or sharing information with third parties, include:

  • Disable GPS at all time except in an emergency or navigation purposes;
  • Disable NFC (Near Field Communications) on Apple devices, iBeacon, permanently ;
  • Disable Bluetooth at all times except when driving in a car for hands-free calls, if supported by the car;
  • Verify Apps behavior and privacy risk before installing;
  • According to a post by Yahoo, iPhone users can manage go into the Settings tab, and then click on Privacy and then Location Services to switch apps off and on.
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Snopewall stated that the flashlight app pre-installed on the Apple iPhone appears to be safe.