Risky Business in the App Stores

 

percent-time-spent-on-mobile-apps-2016

Smartinsight: Percent time spent on mobile apps 2016.

 

The world is mobile and applications are for people on the go. Mobile apps have revolutionised the way we use our smartphones. These days we have an app for everything. In this post, I will discuss some of the risky sides of downloading mobile apps. I Myself have over 75 Apps on my iPhone. Most of them I´ve had for years and they are hardly ever used.

The number of apps continues to grow. As of March 2017, according to Statista, Android users were able to choose between 2.8 million apps while Apple’s App Store remained the second-largest app store with 2.2 million available apps.

“Applications for mobile platforms are being developed at a tremendous rate, but often without proper security implementation. Insecure mobile applications can cause serious information security and data privacy issues and can have severe repercussions on users and organisations alike.”

The mentality of the developers is to build more apps before the competitors build them. Security isn´t thought off.

“Application risk is increasing because we’re doing more and more applications on our devices,” – Chris Wysopal, CTO and Cofounder of Veracode.

Every time you´re adding an application to your device there´s a potential risk that the app either has malicious functionality with intend to trick you into downloading what you see but instead you´re getting something you didn´t ask for. It could also be a poorly coded app which leaks information because of the way it transfers and stores data in the clear and sends your private information up to an add network. The developer thinks they´re doing a good job, but they´re actually putting your data at risk, Wysopal goes on.

If the developer doesn´t build the app correctly the operating system isn´t going to protect the user. In other words; all the data on your device, personal data, your address book, your photos etc. is at risk.

Apps shouldn´t be able to access contact information without disclosing it first with the user. When you download an App you agree to the terms and conditions to let the app access other parts of your phone. Have you ever asked yourself why a simple gaming or weather app needs access to your Wi-Fi, contact list or camera?

The more apps you add to you phone the higher risk you put yourself in.

After researching this topic it´s safe to say that the number of apps on my phone has rapidly decreased.

 

References: 
Jain, A.K. & Shanbhag, D.. (2012). Addressing Security and Privacy Risks in Mobile Applications. Available: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/aa53/1e41c4c646285b522cf6f33f82a9d68d5062.pdf. Last accessed 23rd May 2017.

Spark, D. (2012). The Causes of Mobile Application Risk. Available: https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/security-data-protection/the-causes-of-mobile-application-risk/. Last accessed 24th May.

-. (2017). Number of apps available in leading app stores as of March 2017. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/. Last accessed 21st May 2017.

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