According to sources, the average smartphone user has 26 apps installed and that virtually all of them have some form of security issue. Apps typically need to use data from your device to function, this means granting them permissions to access it. The biggest problem is that many, if not most apps, are granted permissions they shouldn’t have which puts you at risk. Does a game really need to access your contacts? Or send an email?

A mobile device has numerous components, all of them vulnerable to security weaknesses. Minimise the risk of exploits to your mobile devices through apps by ensuring you manage these 4 things:

1. Ensure your operating system is always up to date

The main reasons operating systems are updated are to fix security flaws.  Most malicious threats are caused by security flaws that remain unfixed due to an out of date OS.

2. Only download apps from official app stores

Official App stores regularly remove apps that might contain malware when they find them, HOWEVER, some apps slip past and can be downloaded by unsuspecting users.

3. Ensure Apps are not asking for/do not have access to things on your phone that are irrelevant to their function.

The apps ask for a list of permissions before people are allowed to download them. These permissions generally require some kind of access to files or folders on the mobile device. Most people just glance at the list of permissions and agree without reviewing them in great detail. This lack of scrutiny leaves devices and enterprises vulnerable to mobile threats.

4. No password protection/weak password protection.

It might be shocking to know that 34% of people don't use a password to lock their phone*2. If these devices are lost or stolen, it gives thieves easy access to all the information stored on the phone.

Apps are a lot of fun and great tools for social media, games, organisation, fitness and more. But it is always best to exercise caution, check reviews and opt to download the more popular offerings (from a security perspective). And always...think before you click.

References
*1 http://www.businessofapps.com/data/app-statistics/
*2 https://auth0.com/blog/ten-mobile-security-threats-and-what-you-can-do-to-fight-back/