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A fourth of Android apps are high risk security threats, says Trustgo

Fourth quarter report finds growing number of risky apps
Fri Jan 11 2013, 10:15

MOBILE SECURITY OUTFIT Trustgo has found that over 25 percent of Android apps worldwide feature code that can leverage application permissions and create security vulnerablities.

Of the 2.3 million Android apps analysed by Trustgo in the fourth quarter of 2012, 511,000 were identified as high risk, defined as being able to make unauthorised payments, steal data or modify user settings.

Ten per cent of apps in the US and Western Europe had a high risk for causing security issues. While China was reported to have the most high risk apps available for download.

"Malware continues to be a problem around the world, but the real growth is happening in a category of apps we call 'High Risk'," said Trustgo founder and CEO Xuyang Li.

"These apps do not include malware in the conventional sense, but they are capable of a wide variety of behaviors that put users in danger. Importantly, it is practically impossible for users to distinguish High Risk apps from the safe ones on their own."

High risk apps have the potential to create security loopholes. Faulty code in an app reportedly can allow a hacker to track user phone numbers, modify user's bookmarks, and push unwanted ads onto user's devices.

According to Trustgo's report, China has the highest number of high risk apps in the wild. The company found that over 77 per cent of all apps available in the country pose a high risk for security breaches.

The five riskiest app stores to download Android apps from were also reported to be based in China.

Trustgo found that the safest app store to download from was the European based store Aproov. Only two per cent of the store's apps were reported to offer a high risk for security issues.

Both the Amazon App Store and Google Play Store also scored high marks for safety. Only 7.5 per cent of apps in the Amazon App Store were found to be high risk, while the Google Play Store had 8.4 per cent of its apps showing a high risk for security problems.

To compile its results Trustgo examined over two million apps from over 187 worldwide app stores. Statistics were gathered during the fourth quarter of 2012. µ


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