The Dark Side of Phone Apps

June 4, 2010 -

The Wall Street Journal looks into the "dark side of phone apps" in a new report about the lack of app vetting in Google's Android and Apple's iPhone app stores. While they don't cite too many examples, save some questionable banking apps that Apple banned, the paper solicits the opinions of nameless FBI and security professionals who are "concerned" about malicious software making its way into these stores and in turn on consumers' phones.

As more companies, government agencies and regular consumers use wireless devices to engage in commerce and share private information, the "bad guys" are finding new and creative ways to steal from them and profit from it.

The paper, speaking to "someone familiar with the matter," reports that the FBI's Cyber Division has begun working on these kinds of cases - specifically apps designed to compromise banking on cellphones, as well as mobile "malware" used for "espionage by foreign nations." The FBI has a standing policy that bars its employees from downloading apps on FBI-issued smartphones. The Air Force has a similar policy.

While there is some oversight for most app stores - Google's Android app store has no formal review process. The company has said in the past that it relies on its customers to report malware or other questionable apps first. While some security experts believe Google's Android Market is particularly vulnerable, Google says that it has "put in place security measures, such as remotely disabling apps found to be malicious and requiring developers to register with its Checkout payment service, and argued there's no evidence for claims that its store poses a greater risk than others."

Apple, on the other hand, vets all of its applications before they appear in its App Store, but security on that front can use some improvement too, according to some experts. The most publicized incident happened in July 2008, when Apple pulled the game called Aurora Feint from its store after it was found to be uploading users' contact lists to the game maker's servers. Apple claims that it " takes security very seriously," and that it has "a very thorough approval process and review every app." The company also claims to check the identities of every developer.

Still the iPhone isn't a perfect and safe platform - we'll leave you this scary quote from the WSJ story to think about:

Since 2008, security experts have identified at least 36 security holes in the phone's software, according to a review of the National Vulnerability Database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. One, identified in September 2009, could have allowed hackers to learn someone's username and password from messages sent to servers when browsing the Web.

Source: WSJ

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Matthew Wilsonhttps://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/581579256704081920 for those who did not see it zelda wont be at e3 ether.03/28/2015 - 2:22pm
ZippyDSMleeGot my keyboard working now now trying to sort and customize my stuff back to where I had it.03/28/2015 - 2:03pm
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ZippyDSMleeother keyboards work but my keyboard will not work on it works on all the laptops tho...03/27/2015 - 11:22pm
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MaskedPixelantehttp://www.newsarama.com/23947-axel-alonso-says-x-men-will-have-new-world-post-secret-wars.html Marvel gives 20th Century Fox the finger, takes their ball and segregates the mutant population in their own universe. According to rumors at least.03/27/2015 - 10:21pm
Papa MidnightSure thing!03/27/2015 - 9:00pm
Andrew EisenPM - Thanks, I've updated the story.03/27/2015 - 8:59pm
Papa Midnighthttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/03/13-year-old-minecraft-player-confesses-to-swatting-police-say/03/27/2015 - 8:38pm
Andrew EisenThat would mean either Nintendo's next home console will be out by next year or the next Zelda game is suffering a two year delay. Both extraordinarily unlikely.03/27/2015 - 8:34pm
Matthew Wilsonsome people are thinking we might have a Twilight Princess situation on our hands, what do you guys think?03/27/2015 - 8:01pm
MechaCrashMiyamoto once said "a delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever." While this can be taken to excess, it is good that Nintendo remembers it.03/27/2015 - 7:44pm
MaskedPixelanteYay for it not being a buggy mess like AC Unity. Boo that it got delayed til November 2016.03/27/2015 - 7:07pm
Andrew EisenAgreed. Considering we've seen nothing of the game (and those who did see it last E3, said it was super duper early) I would be quite surprised to see it this year.03/27/2015 - 5:28pm
Matthew WilsonI am sure star fox is 2016 too.03/27/2015 - 5:14pm
ZippyDSMleeThe primary reasons I would get a Nintendo system is Zelda and Metroid, Metroid prime collection was beyond words awesome even if 3 was the weakest one. I played TWP on the emulator I have Skyward Sword but like TWP I been putting it off…. LOL03/27/2015 - 5:14pm
Daniel LewisI actually thought star fox would be the game to be delayed,hopefully that isn't as well!03/27/2015 - 5:13pm
Daniel Lewiswoah post shared at the same time matthew,you just beat me!03/27/2015 - 5:11pm
 

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