Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

Apple iOS Threats Fewer Than Android But More Deadly

Data leakage and corruption haunt iOS and Android mobile apps the most, a new study shows.

Apple's iOS mobile platform suffers fewer cyberattacks than Google's Android, but a new study shows that when iOS does get hit, the attacks are more severe.

Pradeo's biannual mobile applications threat review report, released today, examines the mobile threat landscape based on a recent portion of the 1.5 million single applications processed by the firm. "What is interesting is that the iOS does not have the same degree of problems as Android," says Vivien Raoul, Pradeo's chief technology officer, of the findings. "Although it comes less often, it is generally more of a serious problem that affects the system itself."

The iOS system after downloading an app asks the user each time if he or she wants the app to access their personal databefore allowing that task to launch, while Android just automatically launches once the app has been downloaded, Raoul explains.

A compromised iOS system can allow data leakage and corruption to occur, he says. According to the Pradeo study, data leakage and corruption affect 47.8% of iOS applications that carry malicious or intrusive behavior.

 

 [Source: Pradeo]

When it comes to all mobile applications with malicious intent or intrusive behavior, data leakage or corruption is by far the worst for both iOS and Android, accounting for 60.7% of the cases, according to the study. Communications exploits represented 12.5% and system manipulation 5.5%. Malware, however, accounts for only 1.5%.

That ranking also largely held true among the most popular applications – games, entertainment, and tools. The only exception is tools, where system manipulation has a higher occurrence frequency in those apps than communications exploits.

 [Source: Pradeo]

For Pradeo's Raoul, one of the more surprising figures in his firm's report was the degree that zero-day threats are growing. Applications embedding unknown malware threats have quadrupled over the past year, the study shows.

 "There are new techniques every year and the attackers have a huge imagination," Raoul says.

The study also found that 25% of mobile applications carry vulnerabilities, of which 75% of these flaws are among the top 10 Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) vulnerabilities.

"The top 10 OWASP are critical vulnerabilities, but in most cases, these vulnerabilities will affect the performance of the app and not the device or system," Raoul explains. As a result, companies may not be quick to patch these vulnerabilities on their company owned smartphones or nudge their BYOD workers to install an update patch.

Related Content:

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2017 | 6:07:36 PM
Re: Article is unclear - seems mostly Pradeo talking points

Well, to be fair, the article is an overview/feature of a much more in-depth study.

Fortunately, it appears that the study/report can be accessed here: pradeo.com/en-US/datasheet/mobile-applications-threats-review-S12017

Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2017 | 6:04:29 PM
iOS security
What's interesting is that a 2015 study based on federal gov't data indicated that 96% of exploits were for Android -- whereas Apple operating systems (both OSX and iOS) had the most reported vulnerabilities of any operating systems by far. That combined with this data implies interesting lessons about patch management, as well as about "M&M security" (i.e., "hard on the outside, soft in the middle").

IOS generally has an excellent walled garden (well, excellent from a security perspective (if not so much a developer perspective) for the reasons here described -- particularly when compared with Android -- but it's important to not bet everything on that outer shell. For its part, at least, it appears that Apple is responsive about patching (even if the company is often too quick to release major updates).
PWA-web
100%
0%
PWA-web,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/23/2017 | 11:17:58 AM
Re: Article is unclear - seems mostly Pradeo talking points
Yes, you're right !
KaylaW244
50%
50%
KaylaW244,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/22/2017 | 1:03:36 AM
Re: Article is unclear - seems mostly Pradeo talking points
A compromised iOS system can allow data leakage and corruption to occur
SchemaCzar
0%
100%
SchemaCzar,
User Rank: Strategist
6/21/2017 | 11:55:10 AM
Article is unclear - seems mostly Pradeo talking points
The key graphs in this article describe only those applications exhibiting malicious or intrusive behaviors.  This offers no assistance to the administrator.  What are the raw numbers of such applications on each platform?  How many are in each platform's App Store?  Is Pradeo including apps for jailbroken iOS devices, or back-revved versions of iOS?

If at most 1% of iOS applications exhibit malicious or intrusive behaviors, then we are talking about effectively no problem at all.  The fact that 67.2% of 1% leak or corrupt data is trivial.

' "What is interesting is that the iOS does not have the same degree of problems as Android," says Vivien Raoul, Pradeo's chief technology officer, of the findings. ' - yes, very interesting, and we need numbers!  How much more hazardous is Android, or how much safer is iOS?

Regrettably the net is that this article conveys no actionable information.
How Attackers Could Use Azure Apps to Sneak into Microsoft 365
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  3/24/2020
Malicious USB Drive Hides Behind Gift Card Lure
Dark Reading Staff 3/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-10940
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
Local Privilege Escalation can occur in PHOENIX CONTACT PORTICO SERVER through 3.0.7 when installed to run as a service.
CVE-2020-10939
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
Insecure, default path permissions in PHOENIX CONTACT PC WORX SRT through 1.14 allow for local privilege escalation.
CVE-2020-6095
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
An exploitable denial of service vulnerability exists in the GstRTSPAuth functionality of GStreamer/gst-rtsp-server 1.14.5. A specially crafted RTSP setup request can cause a null pointer deference resulting in denial-of-service. An attacker can send a malicious packet to trigger this vulnerability.
CVE-2020-10817
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
The custom-searchable-data-entry-system (aka Custom Searchable Data Entry System) plugin through 1.7.1 for WordPress allows SQL Injection. NOTE: this product is discontinued.
CVE-2020-10952
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
GitLab EE/CE 8.11 through 12.9.1 allows blocked users to pull/push docker images.