Android and iOS make it really easy to download multiple apps. Sometimes for the same function, such as browsing and photo editing. Depending on how heavy your phone and/or tablet use is, you need more than one browser and photo editor.
But that’s where we’re in danger. Three-quarters of all mobile apps have a vulnerability that can lead to hackers stealing anything you value on your phone, such as passwords, communication, financial information, etc. And if you have an Android, you have slightly more of a chance of having a flawed app.
Flawed Mobile Apps
Positive Technologies noted on their “Vulnerabilities and Threats in Mobile Applications” report that of the mobile app flaws, Android users are 43 percent at risk while iOS users are 38 percent at risk.
The most common vulnerability found in both mobile platform apps is insecure data storage, according to the report, with 76 percent having such a flaw.
Malware could exploit an astounding 89 percent of the vulnerabilities that were found. While you knew it was risky to jailbreak your phone, knowing it could put you more at risk, the report states attackers rarely need to access your device physically to hit you up with malware.
If it lands on your phone, it has the ability to ask for access to your data, if that permission is granted, the malware can send your data to the attackers.
“In 2018 mobile apps were downloaded onto user devices over 205 billion times. Developers pay painstaking attention to software design in order to give us a smooth and convenient experience, and people gladly install mobile apps and provide personal information,” explained Positive Technologies’ cyber security resilience lead, Leigh-Anne Galloway, in a press release.
“However, an alarming number of apps are critically insecure, and far less developer attention is spent on solving that issue. Stealing data from a smartphone usually doesn’t even require physical access to the device.”
In other words, developers spend so much time giving us all these exciting features, that they don’t spend enough time making them secure. Because the app looks like it could solve some problems or make things easier for us, we download it without a second thought.
Protecting Your Device and Data
Galloway suggests that to protect your device and your sensitive data, you should pay attention when apps request access to your device’s functions as well as its data. Be sure you do not agree to any unnecessary access. And of course, as always, don’t open unknown links that you find in text messages and chat apps, and only get your apps through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Is this plausible? Sure. While at one point I downloaded apps willy nilly and granted every access they asked for, I’ve learned a lot. I still download a lot of apps – after all, I work in this industry, online tech writing, and I work in this industry because tech is always exciting to me. And 100 percent of my work is done on mobile.
However, I don’t grant access like that anymore now that we better understand the dangers, only when it’s necessary. And sure, I’ll download five or six apps when looking for a certain function, but the ones I decide I don’t like, I unload right away. I try not to hoard them.
Is this keeping me 100 percent safe? Definitely not. But the only way to be completely safe is to never use a mobile device. And frankly, there are vulnerabilities on desktops as well, so only if you stay off all tech are you 100 percent safe.
How do you keep your device and data safe from mobile app vulnerabilities? Let us know in the comments below.