Myths about dangerous apps busted

Conventional wisdom is that you don’t have to worry about apps that are based in the U.S. and available on Google Play or the App Store.

Bad news: Conventional wisdom is wrong. 

A study of malicious and dangerous apps by Marble Labs found that 4o% of dangerous apps are actually developed by U.S. publishers. And these apps weren’t lurking in third-party app stores or only available on jailbroken devices: They were found on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

What makes an app risky?

Some of the things these apps did:

  • send users’ private data without their knowledge
  • mined contact lists
  • spread web browsing history
  • send premium texts which charge money to the user
  • lead to phishing websites
  • obtain information without a privacy policy, and
  • have security vulnerabilities.

Permissions aren’t explicit

The way they get away with this: By being vague with permissions. So while the app may request access to your contacts, it won’t inform you that it takes that access and sells the contact list.

Best bet: Avoid any apps that have strange permission requests. Unless there’s a clear need for why an app would need access to your data, it’s best to move on and find a less intrusive alternative.

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