More than 100,000 apps on the Google Play store may pose a security risk according to security specialist Bit9, in what is the latest worrying news for security conscious Android users.
The problem, Bit9 explains on its blog, is not so much that the apps in question are malicious – in fact it says very few apps fall into this category. However, these apps do perform “questionable tasks” and have access to private information which could prove a risk.
The company’s report, Pausing Google Play: More Than 100,000 Android Apps May Pose Security Risks, for which it analysed 400,000 apps and spoke to IT security specialists, explains that 72% of all Android apps access at least one high-risk permission; 42% access GPS location data; 31% access phone numbers or calls; 26% access personal data such as contacts and email; and 9% use permissions that can cost users money.
“The majority of Android apps (72%) use at least one permission that gives the app access to private data or control over the smartphone’s functionality,” Bit9 explains on its blog. “But it’s not just what permissions an app requests that matter, it’s whether those permissions make sense for the nature of the application. For example, it is less suspicious for a social media app to have access to email contacts than it is for a wallpaper app to do the same.”