Hidden security risks of top mobile apps

Appthority cast a spotlight on the hidden behaviors of the top free mobile apps. The report reveals the security issues raised by the BYOD movement, app market fragmentation for developers, popular app categories and the sensitive data that apps can access.

The Appthority Platform analyzed the top 50 free apps from Apple’s App Store and Google Play for risky app behaviors:

  • Both the iOS and Android app market are incredibly fragmented when it comes to developers. Among the top 50 free apps, 92 percent of iOS apps and 66 percent of Android apps are created by unique developers.
  • Gaming is the most popular app category overall, making up 50 percent of the top iOS apps and 20 percent of the top Android apps. Gaming also represents the category that has the most access to sensitive user data.
  • 96 percent of iOS apps and 84 percent of Android apps have the ability to access sensitive information (ad networks and/or analytics, contact information, calendar details, or location) from the device.
  • While gaming apps tend to have more access to sensitive information, a vast majority of business apps used for business, healthcare, and finance also have visibility into that information.

“As employees bring their own smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices into the workplace, they’re introducing new security risks to the enterprise,” said Domingo Guerra, president and co-founder of Appthority.

“IT departments used to control technologies used at work. But now, employees are bringing apps from various developers with access to all kinds of data on mobile devices, including business and personal information. With our App Reputation Report, we’re showing the potential vulnerabilities behind the most popular apps. We want to help put IT back in control of securing company data,” Guerra added.

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