One in five Android apps are potentially insecure – report

With app numbers in the Android Market soon to reach the 50,000 mark, a mobile security firm has raised serious questions over the security of many apps.

Android logo

As many as one in five Android apps exposes users' private data to third parties, a new report claims.

With Android-based devices continuing to grow in number and popularity, the Android Market is flourishing, with almost 50,000 apps available to download.

But in its analysis of the security issues the operating system faces as it continues to grow, mobile security firm S Mobile Systems unearthed some disturbing facts.

Of the 48,000 apps it examined, some 20 per cent requested permission to access information that could be used maliciously by attackers.

A further five per cent granted unauthorised individuals permission to make a call, while three per cent could allow text messages to be sent without the user's knowledge.

And S Mobile revealed that a total of 29 Android apps were found to ask for the same kind of permissions seen in spyware applications.

"Just because it's coming from a known location like the Android market or the Apple App store (with the iPhone), it doesn't mean you can assume that the app isn't malicious or that there is a proper vetting process," S Mobile chief technology officer Dan Hoffman said.

The S Mobile report isn't the first time the Android Market's app-screening methods have been called into question. In January, an online banking app was found to instead be a link to a phishing site where users were asked to update their information.

All told, S Mobile says that in its tests, 20,000 apps nearly half of the entire Android Market requested user permissions that the firm would consider "suspicious". However, because developers generally use aliases and aren't linked to a specific company, getting a true sense of whether an app can be trusted is no easy task.

"The Android operating system and the Android Market are quickly becoming the most widely used mobile platform and app store in the world," said S Mobile's chief executive Neil Book.

"There are individuals and organisations out there right now, developing malicious code designed to capture your most personal information and use it to their advantage."

Featured Resources

How to choose an AI vendor

Five key things to look for in an AI vendor

Download now

The UK 2020 Databerg report

Cloud adoption trends in the UK and recommendations for cloud migration

Download now

2021 state of email security report: Ransomware on the rise

Securing the enterprise in the COVID world

Download now

The impact of AWS in the UK

How AWS is powering Britain's fastest-growing companies

Download now

Recommended

How to turn off battery throttling on an iPhone
battery life

How to turn off battery throttling on an iPhone

18 Jun 2021
NSA releases guidance on voice and video communications security
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

NSA releases guidance on voice and video communications security

18 Jun 2021
Ransomware criminals look to other hackers to provide them with network access
ransomware

Ransomware criminals look to other hackers to provide them with network access

17 Jun 2021
CVS Health data breach leaves a billion records exposed
data protection

CVS Health data breach leaves a billion records exposed

16 Jun 2021

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

16 Jun 2021
Q&A: Enabling transformation
Sponsored

Q&A: Enabling transformation

10 Jun 2021
Ten-year-old iOS 4 recreated as an iPhone app
iOS

Ten-year-old iOS 4 recreated as an iPhone app

10 Jun 2021