RiskIQ's 2020 Mobile App Threat Landscape Report

Tumultuous Year Bred New Threats, But the App Ecosystem Got Safer

Each year, businesses invest more in mobile as the lifestyle of the average consumer becomes more mobile-centric. Mobile growth exploded in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic advancing mobile adoption "by at least two to three years". App Annie also shows that mobile spending grew to a staggering $143 billion in 2020, year over year growth of 20%.

This ravenous demand for mobile creates a massive proliferation of mobile apps. Users downloaded 218 billion apps in 2020 and spent more than $240 billion in app stores worldwide. However, this explosive growth in the mobile ecosystem yields an entire universe of "rogue apps" that aim to take advantage of a tumultuous year and our increased reliance on mobile.

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.

This report will give a snapshot of 2020's mobile threat landscape and dive into emerging trends we anticipate carrying into 2021.

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%

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