IT | Security

Most Free Apps Have Privacy Issues

By: Absolute Team | 3/26/2013

According to a new report from Appthority, iOS apps pose greater risks and privacy issues than Android apps do, despite a common belief that apps in the App Store by Apple must be 'safe'.

The report analyzed the top 50 free apps in business, education, entertainment, finance, and games for both iOS and Android. The apps were analyzed in relation to user privacy, looking for red flags such as sending data without encryption, sharing information with third-parties, looking at users' contact lists or calendars, and location tracking.

  • The majority of free apps send / receive data to outside parties without encryption
  • 79% of the top 50 free iOS and Android apps are associated with risky behaviors or privacy issues.
  • iOS apps exhibited more risky behaviors than Android apps (all 50 iOS apps send data without encryption)
  • Entertainment apps were the worst offenders out of the top five categories

Given the BYOD movement, companies need to be aware of the threats posed by mobile apps. Free apps such as these ones are enciting to users, though you can see from the above that these apps put company data and networks at risk. To mitigate the risk of app security issues, Absolute Manage and Absolute Manage for Mobile Devices both contain app management features to track applications per device, including blacklisting of apps and the management of a centralized App Store, AbsoluteApps, to securely host, remotely deploy, and distribute in-house apps to end users.

We've talked previously about the dangers of free mobile apps, which often come with hidden costs, including a list of how to avoid hidden costs and risks.