Blacklisted apps in the Google Play store decrease by 76 percent

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Despite a surge in app usage, with consumers downloading over 200 billion apps and spending more than $120 billion in app stores worldwide in 2019, Google's new security controls mean blacklisted apps available in the Play store dropped 76.4 percent.

The latest Mobile App Threat Landscape report from RiskIQ shows total blacklisted apps across all stores are down 20 percent.

But there are still hundreds of stores across the world in which threat actors can comfortably distribute their wares. The five with the highest concentration of malicious apps are named in the report as:, Feral apps, VmallApps, Xiaomi and Zhushou.

The report notes the rise of look alike 'rogue apps' that mimic well-known brands and are purpose-built to fool customers into downloading them. Once downloaded these can seek to steal information or download malware to the device.

Other findings include that the mobile app landscape experienced 18 percent growth in 2019. The top-three most prolific app stores in 2019 were Chinese, ahead of both Google and Apple. China remains the largest app market, accounting for 40 percent of consumer app spending.

The report's authors conclude, "This hidden mobile threat landscape is a branding and consumer trust nightmare for businesses. Whether they have an official mobile presence or not, brands must be aware of this mobile app landscape to understand the entirety of their mobile attack surface. Monitoring primary stores like the Apple App Store and Google Play is important. Still, also having visibility into apps lesser-known app stores across the world -- and across the web -- is paramount."

You can find out more on the RiskIQ site.

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