US mobile app users facing increased security risks, new report argues

A nationwide survey of 1,000 US respondents commissioned by RiskIQ found that poor security awareness and an insatiable demand for mobile apps are placing US consumers’ identities and devices at risk.

More than one third (36%) of respondents do not consider an app’s details while nearly half (47%) never or only occasionally review the privacy policy and permissions requested by the app before downloading. This carefree attitude toward mobile apps is leaving such consumers vulnerable to cyber criminals seeking to infect the mobile devices and steal information from unsuspecting victims, the report adds.

According to RiskIQ, 45% of all transactions originated from the mobile channel while 61% of fraud attempts were made from a mobile device in 2015. It was also found that 66% of respondents have clicked on an advertisement promoting a mobile app, movie or game. This is followed by nearly two-thirds, i.e. 60%, who have clicked on a link in an email, website or social media feed to download an app, movie or game.

Consumers’ propensity to click through without thoroughly inspecting details such as the developer, last version update and any reviews, increases their risk of downloading counterfeit or malicious apps. Moreover, on more than one occasion over one quarter (28%) have mistakenly installed an app thinking that it originated from a trusted source, later to find out this was not the case.

Scott Gordon, chief marketing officer at RiskIQ said: “Not a day goes by without the news of yet another cyber-attack or the emergence of a new threat vector. Unlike businesses that have become increasingly cyber security savvy, many consumers remain vulnerable in an ever sophisticated threat landscape. With the volume of personal information being requested and shared through mobile applications, it is time for consumers to improve their online behaviour and step up security awareness.”

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