Mobile app security risks

Posted on: August 13th, 2012 by writers

Spy vs Spy action figure prototypes © by schmuela

The average consumer knows that you don’t just download and install any program you find online onto your desktop or laptop computer at home. You run it through your virus scanner, do some research beforehand, and ensure the program is coming from a reputable source before you install it on your machine. But how many of think of doing the same when downloading mobile apps onto your smartphone?

Most people don’t take these same security risks into account when using their mobile devices, according to security firm RSA, a division of the EMC Corporation. Many users believe that once a mobile app has made its way into one of the various App Stores, be it Apple or Google, that the app is safe for download and usage. But that’s not always the case, and these applications often have wide access to all of the personal information on your mobile devices. More and more cyber criminals are starting to use mobile apps as a way to gain access to sensitive user information online.
Mobile apps are becoming easier to develop and they’re not always verified for security purposes when launched in an app store. Many times the publisher simply needs to pay a fee and register their application. We’re already starting to see some cases of mobile malware in the wild. Six Japanese mobile app developers were arrested in June for stealing people’s information and money through a rogue Android app.

As mobile devices become more powerful and we rely on them more to conduct a wider array of internet activities you can be sure we’ll start seeing more cases like this one. As smart consumers we should start being more attentive to the security risks from mobile apps and start doing a bit more research before we download random unknown applications to our smartphones. After all, with the power of today’s smartphones it’s just like having a desktop computer in your pocket.

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