Free and Paid Apps Pose Risks for the Enterprise

 
 
By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 05-07-2014 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Paid apps exhibit less risky behavior than free ones, but downloading only paid apps is not sure-fire protection for users, according to "Appthority Winter 2014 Reputation Report," a new study by Appthority. The report finds that 80 percent of the top 200 paid apps exhibited at least one risky behavior. The biggest disparity between free and paid apps is location tracking, the report said, followed by accessing the owner's address book or contact list. Furthermore, Apple's iOS is often considered safer than Android's open platform, but that's not always the case. Ninety-one percent of iOS apps showed at least one risky behavior compared to 83 percent of Android apps. The report noted that the top paid 100 titles remained "more stable than the top 100 free titles, which experienced greater churn." The result: Developers who break into the top 100 paid apps have more staying power and brand recognition than when their apps are free. Appthority analyzed 400 apps: the top 100 free apps and 100 paid apps for both iOS and Android. (Apple and Google provided the apps.) The Winter 2014 findings were then compared against data collected in the July 2013 report. To read the report (registration required), click here.

 
 
 
  • Free Apps Cost User Privacy and Security

    Developers of free apps are dependent on revenue that they get from advertising networks and analytics companies. In some cases, pay is based on the amount of data the developers collect and share about users.
    Free Apps Cost User Privacy and Security
  • Beware Apps Running in the Background

    Apps that are running in the background could be tracking your location and sharing it with other parties. That's because not all developers ask for permission upfront or the language they use is vague or deceptive, according to the Appthority report.
    Beware Apps Running in the Background
  • Mobile App Behavior Plus BYOD Challenge Enterprise

    "As employees use their own mobile devices and apps for work, they are mixing both personal and corporate data on them…. It is very challenging for organizations to identify which mobile apps put corporate data at risk versus which apps are benign," notes the Appthority report.
    Mobile App Behavior Plus BYOD Challenge Enterprise
  • How Risky Are Apps?

    95% of the top 200 free iOS and Android apps exhibited at least one risky behavior. 80% of the top 200 paid iOS and Android apps exhibited at least one risky behavior.
    How Risky Are Apps?
  • Free Apps Are Riskier Than Paid Apps

    Paid apps trailed free apps across these risky behaviors: 44% of paid apps track for location vs. 70% of free apps, 22% of paid apps access the address book or contact list vs. 31% of free apps, 47% of paid apps have a single sign-on vs. 69% of free apps, 41% of paid apps identify the user or the unique device ID (UDID) vs. 52% of free apps
    Free Apps Are Riskier Than Paid Apps
  • Android Apps Sharing Data With Ad Networks

    58% of the top 100 free Android apps share data with ad networks, compared to 24% of the top 100 paid apps.
    Android Apps Sharing Data With Ad Networks
  • Apps' Staying Power After Six Months

    Paid apps have more staying power in the top 100, according to the report. Only 43% of free iOS apps continue to be in the top 100 after six months, whereas 64% of paid iOS apps remained. With Android apps, 67% of paid apps stayed in the top 100 compared to 52% of free apps.
    Apps' Staying Power After Six Months
  • Vacuuming Up Contact Lists

    31% of free apps access users' contact lists or address books, compared to 22% of paid apps.
    Vacuuming Up Contact Lists
  • Android Gaming Apps Grab UDIDs

    100% of free Android gaming apps identify the unique device identifier (UDID). Android apps access UDIDs significantly more than iOS apps, 71% and 26% respectively, but the iOS figure is 20 percent points higher than last year.
    Android Gaming Apps Grab UDIDs
 
 
 
 
 
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date