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RiskIQ’s 2019 Mobile Threat Landscape Report Finds Blacklisted Apps Decreased 76%

The Mobile Ecosystem Swells, but Google Leads a Decline in Malicious Apps

SAN FRANCISCO – February 27, 2020RiskIQ, the global leader in attack surface management, today published its 2019 Mobile App Threat Landscape report, an analysis of the murky mobile app underworld spanning the open web and app stores around the world. The research draws from scans of over 120 mobile app stores globally and nearly two billion web resources to highlight where threat actors focused their efforts in 2019 as well as trends that may carry into 2020.

The report is published as both app usage and app proliferation surge. In 2019, users downloaded over 200 billion apps and spent more than $120 billion in app stores worldwide, and are expected to surpass that mark this year. However, mobile apps—especially in lesser-known stores—continue to be a significant portion of an enterprise's attack surface where security teams often suffer from a critical lack of visibility.

In 2019, threat actors made a living by developing apps that trick users into downloading them, often by mimicking well-known brands. Once they’re downloaded, they can phish users for sensitive information or upload malware to their devices.

2019 key findings include:

  • The mobile app landscape experienced 18% growth
  • Despite this growth, blacklisted apps saw a 76% decline, making mobile safer
  • The top-three most prolific app stores in 2019 were Chinese, ahead of both Google and Apple
  • Feral apps—apps on the open web outside of app stores—continue to be some of the most dangerous
  • China remains the largest app market, accounting for 40% of consumer app spending
  • The six most prolific app stores of blacklisted apps in 2019

RiskIQ provides both detection data of these malicious apps and tips for spotting them. For specific metrics or to learn more, download the 2019 RiskIQ Mobile Threat Landscape report here:

About RiskIQ
RiskIQ is the leader in digital attack surface management, providing the most comprehensive discovery, intelligence, and mitigation of threats associated with an organization's digital presence. With more than 75 percent of attacks originating outside the firewall, RiskIQ allows enterprises to gain unified insight and control over web, social and mobile exposures. Trusted by thousands of security analysts, security teams, and CISO's, RiskIQ's platform combines advanced internet data reconnaissance and analytics to expedite investigations, understand digital attack surfaces, assess risk, and take action to protect the business, brand, and customers. Based in San Francisco, the company is backed by Summit Partners, Battery Ventures, Georgian Partners, and MassMutual Ventures.

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Holly Hitchcock
Front Lines Media