The state of the mobile ecosystem

At Black Hat USA 2015, Appthority released their second Q2 2015 Enterprise Mobile Threat Report, for which their researchers analyzed security and risky behaviors in three million apps and assessed how these risks are impacting enterprise environments.

Enterprise and government workforces depend on mobile solutions for increased productivity, while adopting Bring Your Own Apps (BYOA) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in an effort to protect against corporate security and privacy risks.

Appthority combines the largest global database of millions of analyzed public and enterprise mobile apps with a policy management engine to speed app review, approval and enforcement of custom use policies for thousands of employees within minutes.

The report covers iOS and Android apps found on both BYOD and enterprise-owned devices.

Findings include:

  • Enterprise data crossing international borders – Appthority mapped the geographic flow of enterprise data and discovered that apps are sending PII (personal identifiable information) and other sensitive information all over the globe, often without the enterprise’s knowledge. The top iOS apps sent data to 92 different countries while the top Android apps sent data to 63 different countries.
  • The risk of the third party library – Overstretched enterprise app development teams increasingly rely on third party libraries and SDKs. With no policy in place to analyze mobile app security, enterprise data is put at risk when one of those popular third party packages carries a major vulnerability.
  • Zombie apps, a threat that won’t die – Zombie apps are apps that have been revoked by the app store and are no longer receiving security updates. App stores are under no regulatory obligation to inform users of revoked apps, and Appthority’s research shows that 100 percent of enterprises surveyed have zombie apps in their environments, leaving the door wide open for cybercriminals and other security threats to access sensitive data.

“The ongoing threat of zombie apps and stale apps continues to be an ‘under the radar’ threat to the enterprise,” said said Domingo Guerra, president and co-founder, Appthority. “The solution to closing this threat window is really two-fold: app stores need to revamp their policy to include a mechanism for alerting end users that an app on their device has been revoked, and end users need increased education about the importance of making updates to their mobile apps as soon as they are available.”

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The state of the mobile ecosystem