Menu
Report finds iOS apps riskier than Android apps

Report finds iOS apps riskier than Android apps

A study from Appthority of security and risky behavior in mobile apps yields some concerning results.

How many apps do you have on your smartphone or tablet right now? Well, take that number, and multiply it by 0.9. That's about how many of your apps are a potential security concern according to a new study from Appthority.

The Appthority Reputation Report for Winter 2014 was compiled using data from the cloud-based Appthority App Risk Management Service. Appthority performed static, dynamic, and behavioral app analysis of 400 paid and free apps spanning iOS and Android to assess the relative security and risky behavior of the most popular apps.

Appthority found that 95 per cent of the top 200 free apps on iOS and Android exhibit at least one risky behavior. That number drops to 80 per cent for paid apps--an improvement, but four out of five paid apps exhibiting risky behavior is hardly something to cheer about. Appthority also discovered that iOS apps are riskier overall than Android apps- 91 per cent contain risky behavior as opposed to 83 per cent on Android.

They risky behaviours vary, but include things like location tracking - found in 70 per cent of the free iOS and Android apps - weak authentication, sharing data with ad networks, accessing the contact list, or identifying the user or UDID.

There are a couple significant caveats to the idea of iOS being a greater risk. First, Android apps have a much higher presence of accessing the UDID or identifying the user. Apple took steps to prevent developers from accessing UDID information on iOS mobile devices--but some developers have found ways to circumvent those rules.

The other thing that separates Android from iOS is that, although there are more iOS apps that exhibit risky behavior, the Android apps tend to collect more information about the user and the user's mobile activities than their iOS counterparts.

To sum up, a higher percentage of iOS apps include risky behaviors than Android apps, and paid apps are generally less risky than free apps.

The differences in many cases are small and semantic, though. The fact that iOS has a higher percentage than Android may offer some small consolation to Android users, but the fact that nearly all of the apps on both major mobile platforms exhibit at least one risky behavior should be a red flag for both app developers and mobile device users--as well as for Apple and Google themselves.

The real lesson to be found in this report is that app developers recognize the financial value of gathering user data, and that mobile apps in general have a long way to go in terms of security and respecting a user's privacy.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags appsiossecuritymobile securitysmartphonesAppthorityAndroidsoftwareoperating systemsAppleconsumer electronics

Slideshows

Meet the leading HP partners in New Zealand...

Meet the leading HP partners in New Zealand...

HP has recognised its top performing partners in New Zealand at the second annual 2016 HP Partner Awards, held at a glittering bash in Auckland. The HP Partner Awards recognises and celebrates excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of its top partners. This year also saw the addition of several new categories, resulting in 11 companies winning across 11 award categories.

Meet the leading HP partners in New Zealand...
Channel comes together as Ingram Micro Showcase hits Auckland

Channel comes together as Ingram Micro Showcase hits Auckland

Ingram Micro outlined its core focuses for 2017 at Showcase in Auckland, bringing together the channel for a day of engaging keynotes, compelling breakout sessions and new technologies.

Channel comes together as Ingram Micro Showcase hits Auckland
Show Comments