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RiskIQ’s 2020 Mobile Threat Landscape Report Finds 33% Growth in Mobile Apps, Malicious Feral Apps Explode

San Francisco, CA -- February 2, 2021 RiskIQ, the global leader in attack surface management, today published its 2020 Mobile App Threat Landscape report, an analysis of the murky mobile app underworld spanning the open web and app stores around the world.

With a proactive, store-first scanning mentality, RiskIQ observes and categorizes the threat landscape as a user would see it, monitoring both the well-known stores like the Apple App Store and Google Play and more than 120 secondary stores around the world. RiskIQ also leverages daily scans of nearly two billion resources to look for mobile apps in the wild. Every app encountered is downloaded, analyzed, and stored to record changes and new versions.

The report gives a snapshot of 2020's mobile threat landscape and dives into emerging trends for 2021.

2020 key findings include:

  • Overall mobile apps available grew 33%
  • RiskIQ’s Internet Intelligence Graph cataloged 30% more apps in 2020 but noted only 102,312 blacklisted apps*, more than 67% fewer than in 2019
  • Play store dropped an impressive 60% in 2020. We’ve found that blacklisted apps have now fallen in Google Play for two consecutive years
  • Despite blacklisted apps falling 67%, blacklisted feral apps rose nearly 58%

This hidden mobile threat landscape is a branding and consumer trust nightmare for businesses. Even though an organization doesn't own or manage a copycat app, it's still part of its attack surface because the copycat app is leveraging the organization’s branding and targeting its prospects, customers, and employees. Security teams must detect and address them.

Extending security and IT protection outside the firewall requires mapping these billions of relationships between the internet components belonging to every organization, business, and threat actor on Earth. These include mobile apps. RiskIQ built our Internet Intelligence Graph to prepare enterprises for this reality by enabling them to discover unknowns across their attack surface and investigate threats to their organization.

RiskIQ provides both detection data of these malicious apps and tips for spotting them. For specific metrics or to learn more, download the 2020 RiskIQ Mobile Threat Landscape report here:

About RiskIQ
RiskIQ is the leader in digital threat management, providing the most comprehensive discovery, intelligence, and mitigation of threats associated with an organization's digital presence. With more than 75%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, MassMutual Ventures, and NationalGrid Partners.

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Holly Hitchcock
Front Lines Media