Do you or your employees use personal iOS or Android devices for work? By using the apps on them, you could be putting your business's important data at risk.
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Seventy-eight percent of the top Android paid apps and 87 percent of the top iOS paid apps engage in at least one of the top 10 risky behaviors identified by app risk-management company Appthority. And the top free apps were even worse, with 99 percent (on both platforms) engaging in at least one risky behavior as well. This data comes from Appthority's summer 2014 App Reputation Report.
What are the top 10 risky behaviors? They fall into two categories: the nature of the data collected, and where that data goes. The first category includes tracking your location, in-app purchasing, and accessing your address book, calendar and your device's user ID. The second category includes ad networks, social networking, cloud file storage, and both analytic framework and crash reporting software development kits (SDKs).
For companies that provide their employees with mobile devices intended strictly for work purposes, this may not pose such a problem. Employees who use their own mobile devices and apps for work-related activity are doing so along with other things like playing games, using social media and more, however. This activity increases the risk that sensitive company information will be sent out to third parties and misused by them. [10 Ways to Prevent a Data Security Breach]
Many companies worry about malicious software or malware, the report said, but malware only infects .4 percent of mobile apps. The real problem is the way apps handle users' personal information and company data.
According to the report, risky app behaviors continue to rise, especially when it comes to free apps. You won't solve the problem by sticking strictly to paid apps, however, since 83 percent of paid apps are guilty of engaging in risky behavior as well. And the platform you use doesn't change much, either. With 93 percent of iOS apps and 89 percent of Android apps collecting and sharing your data in some way or another, the risk is almost equal.
So how do concerned business owners ensure that their data is in good hands when it comes to their employees' mobile devices?
"The only way to avoid security and privacy problems is to have access to real-time static and dynamic analysis of mobile app risk and be able to apply customized policies to limit use of the riskiest apps," the report said.
Ultimately, it's all about making informed decisions about which apps you download and which ones you scroll past in the app store.
Originally published on Business News Daily.