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Retail app security vulnerabilities investigated

01 June 2018 - 10:00 by Graham Miller

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A new study from Symantec suggests that around 27 per cent of the smartphone apps that offer safe shopping online to consumers are especially susceptible to being exploited by malicious third party software.

Over the past 12 months there has been a 54 per cent rise in the amount of mobile malware that is on the scene, which suggests that cybercriminals are stepping up their activities and putting innocent users at risk of fraud.

Retail-focused apps are categorised along with a number of other ‘lifestyle’ services in the report, with this category being especially vulnerable to malware, presumably because it is the largest and most diverse segment of the market.

Interestingly, the least problematic category of app in terms of security is casual gaming, where just two per cent of software is weak against malware.

Security experts argue that companies which offer safe shopping online and have their own smartphone apps on tap should attempt to improve the resilience of their mobile offerings in the face of the growing malware threat.

Mobile malware can come in a variety of formats, with infections occurring both via app store downloads and through harder-to-detect attacks which leverage text message technologies to find a back door into devices.

The study suggests that these threats are only going to continue multiplying over time, especially since just a fifth of Android-powered handsets are equipped with the latest edition of Google’s platform, leaving many security flaws unpatched, according to Internet Retailing.

Apple’s all-encompassing approach to the rollout of iOS arguably means that its users are a little safer from the looming presence of malware. But with hackers targeting all major smartphone platforms, it is foolish to be complacent about the risks and mobile fans of all kinds are urged to remain vigilant.