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Marble Security Report: U.S. No. 1 Source of Dangerous Mobile Apps for iPhone and Android

China, India, Korea and Taiwan are next riskiest sources

MENLO PARK, Calif., Feb. 3, 2015 – The No. 1 source for malicious and highly risky mobile applications that target iOS and Android devices is the U.S., followed by China, India, Korea and Taiwan.  Despite coming in second as the source of the highest number of risky apps, nearly one in 10 mobile apps from China puts smartphone users at risk, according to an analysis of more than 1 million apps by Marble Security, Inc.

Marble Security’s February 2015 Mobile Threat Report, “U.S. Publishers Are Responsible for Most Malicious and Risky Apps, Putting Everyone with a Smartphone at Risk,” shows that the U.S. accounts for more than 42 percent of the world's most dangerous mobile apps that target non-jailbroken and non-rooted iPhone, iPad and Android devices. China is the second largest publisher of malicious and highly risky apps at almost 18 percent of the world's output.

The research team at mobile threat intelligence and defense firm Marble Security analyzed more than 1 million apps available on the North American versions of the Apple App Store and Google Play that do not require a jailbroken or rooted device to be dangerous. This is an important distinction, as industry stakeholders maintain a steady drumbeat that jailbroken or rooted devices allowing the download of unapproved third-party applications are the crux of the problem.

“This research shows nothing could be further from the truth,” said Dave Jevans, founder and chief technology officer at Marble Security. “Apps present mobile users with a dizzying list of permissions, which they accept with little or no thought. But analysis shows many apps play fast and loose with contacts, file permissions with online sites such as Dropbox, Web browsing histories and more. These risks are poorly understood by mobile users and the enterprises that employ them, but they are a fertile ground for hackers and identity thieves.”

Marble examined 11 types of highly risky apps. One example includes mobile apps that allow users to access images stored in their Dropbox accounts, and once given access, rifle through all the online data and send files of interest to an outside server. In another example, permissions allow an app to send the user’s entire Web browsing history along with detailed hardware identifying information over the Internet, allowing advertisers or attackers to target users or their employers. 

“Exploitation of mobile devices will only intensify. Unlike viruses or malware on PCs, today’s new threats come in the form of apps. Even apps distributed to legitimate app stores contain security and privacy risks to consumers and enterprises, and many of those risky apps are published in the U.S.,” said Jevans.  “This research underscores that consumers and businesses need to pay close attention to what apps they download onto their mobile devices and how those apps use or misuse personal data.”

More information is available online in the final report: Marble Security Mobile Threat Report, February 2015.

Enterprise security professionals and mobile device managers interested in learning more about how Marble Security’s mobile threat intelligence and defense services enhance enterprise mobile security with defense-in-depth can visit www.marblesecurity.com.

About Marble Security
Marble Security is the leading provider of mobile threat intelligence and defense. Marble Labs, the company’s research and response team of analysts, developers and cybercrime specialists, has analyzed millions of Android and iOS apps, detecting apps with malicious and privacy-leaking behaviors that frequently lead to advanced persistent threats (APTs), spear phishing attacks on employees and other information security risks.
Marble’s security apps and services deliver comprehensive, correlated threat intelligence for Android and iOS devices. Marble provides these as stand-alone solutions or integrates directly with mobile device management (MDM) or enterprise mobile management (EMM) solutions, providing granular risk control for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs. Marble Security is a Security, Reputation and Risk Management partner with MobileIron (NASDAQ: MOBL).  www.marblesecurity.com


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