Beware Dangerous Apps

Why are App stores listing dangerous apps?

Monday 14 March, 2022

Dangerous third-party apps have long been an issue for both Apple and Android phones. Although Google and Apple state that they police their app stores in search of rogue apps, a recent study has found that there are still a huge number that make it through to be downloaded, before finally being removed by either company.  

The study, carried out by the firm Pixilate, found that a staggering 813,000 apps needed to be delisted from the app stores in just the first six months of 2021. 

Many of the apps targeted for delisting had serious concerns regarding user privacy issues. A frightening 94% of the apps that required delisting from the Apple store did not have a privacy policy or satisfactory terms of service. This is despite the fact that Apple requires a privacy policy to list. 

Moreover, there is also the concern that Google currently do not require an app to even have a privacy policy to be able to list on their store. 

What makes apps dangerous?

Dangerous permissions-based services can have the ability to take personal data or locally saved information from the user’s handset, including:

  • Writing to an external storage automatically and without permission
  • Starting a phone call without the dialler
  • Secretly recording audio
  • Reading from or writing to the contact list

These are just a few of the issues listed as being dangerous, in total the list states there are 30 issues that would result in a compromise on user privacy. 

How many dangerous app downloads were there?

When comparing the apps available in the two stores, those available for Android were significantly more prone to contain at least one dangerous permission, with 66% of Google Play’s removed apps compared to just 8% on the Apple App Store. 

Looking further into the impact of these rogue apps, the statistics are frightening:

  • Approximately 20,000 apps had around 100,000 downloads before they were delisted
  • Removed apps were downloaded 9.2 billion times for the first six months of 2021
  • 74% of delisted apps did not have a listing address

The sheer magnitude of these numbers highlights the scale of danger these apps pose to the average smartphone user.

How do I protect myself from dangerous apps?

In order to avoid the risk of dangerous permissions on third-party apps, the most effective option is to not download any apps from Google or Apple in the first place. This is not always possible for those using standard retail Android and Apple handsets. 

However, there is another option. You can change your smartphone handset to a Blackphone PRIVY 2.0. 

The Blackphone PRIVY 2.0 has developed security and risk mitigation features within dedicated apps that ensure you will not be exposed to dangerous permissions that have been included in third-party apps. 

The Blackphone PRIVY 2.0 mobile security and privacy features have been specially developed to create a significantly reduced surface of attack. 

All of the traditional vulnerabilities found on modern mobile handsets including GSM services, SMS services, Google apps and services have been removed from the device. This provides dramatically improved security levels. 

You know that access to a secure mobile phone will be an important asset for your business or protection of your personal information. 

Contact us now and we can help you with the most secure and private mobile phone available.

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