Beware the zombie app risk in the enterprise, report warns

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There are many security risks your organisation has to be wary of, from mobile malware to cybercriminals and even your own employees. Yet a new report from Appthority has revealed a threat which companies may see as remiss – dead apps.

3.9% of Android apps and 5.2% of iOS apps in the Enterprise 100 have ‘zombie’ status – in other words, they’ve been removed from their  app stores and are no longer supported – while approximately a third (37.3% iOS, 31.8% Android) are considered stale – they are older versions of what is current on respective app stores.

Appthority argues this is a major worry for three reasons; dead apps are likely to be exploited by third parties, they are not going to be checked for bug fixes or vulnerabilities, and app stores are under no obligation to notify users when an app has been revoked.

The report notes: “Despite the fact that Apple and Google have taken significant steps to be more open in the past years, there is still little to no transparency when it comes to the number of apps being revoked from the app stores post release, nor the reasons why the apps were removed. This leaves users who have downloaded the revoked apps in limbo, with lack of any visibility or direction.”

Furthermore, Appthority argues Google and Apple “offer no solutions” for protecting the enterprise from dead or stale apps. Not surprisingly, the company is putting together a solution for customers to identify such apps and proactively manage remediation actions on employee devices, yet they argue app stores should take a leaf out of the FDA’s book when setting a bar of quality for medical apps.

The report also assessed the general enterprise mobile OS ecosystem. BlackBerry and Microsoft garnered only 1% in combined market share in the enterprises surveyed. Appthority describes the result as “shocking”, although regular readers of Enterprise AppsTech will register a distinct lack of surprise. Appthority notes BlackBerry’s MDM play, yet opines that Microsoft might “aggressively crash the party”, peaking with Windows Mobile 10.

“Apple is notorious for not offering fleet discounts, Google is fighting a malware perception problem, and Microsoft may come in with heavy discounts to win market share with promised functionality and out of the box connectivity/compatibility to other Microsoft systems in the enterprise,” the report notes.

Google’s malware perception problem is just that – a perception. Verizon, in a report issued in April, argued mobile devices weren’t a preferred vector in data breaches. But could Microsoft make an impression in what has traditionally been a two horse race?

 

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