Abandoned Mobile Apps Are a Security Problem, Research Finds

Mobile apps dropped by developers and removed from
official stores remain a security issue because many people continue to use
them daily, according to new research from Wandera.

Not all mobile apps are around forever. Popular and
useful apps disappear from official stores all the time. The reasons are not
always the same; developers drop support, companies go under, and so on. Even
if an app is removed from the store, though, it’s not necessarily removed from
the phone. Developers don’t have the power (nor should they) to remove apps
remotely.

People will continue to use apps until they don’t work,
especially if they are useful. In this case, security becomes a significant
problem as applications with vulnerabilities remain in use long after they’ve
been retired.

A report from Wandera
shows that Productivity apps seem to be the most commonly abandoned, as they
account for 38.7% of the total. Next comes Gaming and Entertainment (30.3%),
Lifestyle (14.1%), Video and Photo 10.6%, and Communication 6.3%.

You might be inclined to believe large companies don’t
abandon their apps, but that’s not the case. In fact, some of the most prolific
apps that have long been absent from official stores but are still in use come
from major companies.

Some of the best-known apps includes Samsung Keyboard,
SideSync, S Note, Google Now Launcher, and the ES File Explorer. Not everyone
is quick to replace an old phone, so people don’t have an incentive to replace
an app that works, not knowing that they might expose themselves to online
risks.

As the report underlines, the most relevant example is
the Samsung Keyboard, which has at least one known vulnerability. Users need to
be aware that not all of their applications are still supported, and they should
always install a security solution that might help mitigate some of the
problems that might arise.

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