Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 09 December 2015 22:29

Popular iOS shopping apps not all they seem


Flexera Software examined 26 popular iOS shopping apps and found that all did things, that in its opinion, they should not.

Flexera's AdminStudio Mobile software tested the apps to determine how they interact with an Apple iOS device’s:

  • Ad Network
  • Address Book
  • Bluetooth
  • Calendar
  • Camera
  • In-app Purchasing
  • Pictures
  • Location services
  • Reminders
  • Sharing functionality
  • SMS/Texting
  • Social Networking
  • Telephony

The issue was complicated when the device was also used as a BYOD (bring you own) corporate device as potentially some could access sensitive corporate data. A seemingly innocuous mobile phone flashlight app was illegally transmitting users’ precise locations and unique device identifiers to third parties, including advertising networks. Or the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) embarrassment when an employee playing on a Kim Kardashian Hollywood app tweeted out to the EPA’s 52,000 Twitter followers, “I’m now a C-List celebrity in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.”

Support for ad-networks is a great concern – see iTWire’s article here.

Some 26 popular US apps were tested and the results were alarming- read on to see the results.

Flexera says that IT teams need to understand what popular mobile apps employees are letting onto corporate and BYOD devices, and understand what risks those apps have. Mandatory testing of mobile apps to discover their behaviour and risks should be part of any organization’s centralised Application Readiness processes.

Note that this article refers to iOS devices - it applies to Android as well.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!



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