NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — “Sexting” is a growing issue among teens and children, and in many cases, parents don’t even know their children have apps to send and receive sexually explicit messages on their phone.
So called “Ghost” or “Vault” apps are making it easy for kids to hide their photos on their phones.
“The scary part is where is my data going and what’s happening to it,” said Assistant Dean at the University of New Haven Ibrahim Baggili, who specializes in Cyber Forensics and Security.
Secret smartphone apps are designed to look like calculators, audio managers, or even clocks.
“It looks like a calculator, but if I type in a code, it’s a hidden photo app where you can see all the photos I’m hiding from my parents or anyone else,” Baggili added. He says the apps are not new, but the technology is becoming more sophisticated.
“Now, the technology has allowed us to have it in our pockets, in our hands, in our smart watches. You can be sitting down anywhere and be chatting with anyone at any place at anytime,” Baggili said.
While teens may think the photos are hidden, Baggili says there is nothing stopping developers of the apps from sharing the photos.
“Even though you think the picture might only be stored on your phone, the app can be sending it to a remote server,” he said.
Baggili said parents need to be vigilant and teens need to realize, just because an app has the word secret or vault in it, that does not always mean it is secure.