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Digital Spring Cleaning

Quick, how many apps are installed on your smartphone? You may be surprised to find it’s more than you think. April is here and for many it’s time for spring cleaning. Folks usually focus on cleaning their homes, their offices, and even their cars, but what about cleaning their mobile devices?

Do your employees know how many apps are on their devices? And more importantly, do they know which of their apps are putting your corporate data and their personal data, at risk?

The average employee has 80-150 apps downloaded on his or her mobile phone (plus all the apps on other devices like tablets and smartwatches) but according to research at Nielsen, users only access an average of 27 apps per month, or around a quarter of those apps.

Having analyzed millions of Android and iOS apps for risky behaviors Appthority, has three tips to help employees clean out the risky “clutter” from their mobile devices. Feel free to share this information with your employees.

Three Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Device

1 | Delete all apps that you haven’t used in over 6 months

Apps become risky to our privacy and our corporate data when we don’t update them for security patches and other upgrades, which we’re less likely to do if we don’t use them. Either delete or update apps that you haven’t used in six months or longer.

2 | Watch out for Zombie Apps

App Stores regularly remove apps from their stores (often for security reasons) but they don’t have a process for notifying users when an app has been removed. Thus, the vulnerabilities and risky behaviors of these discontinued Zombie Apps remain on devices without the user’s knowledge. 1 in 4 devices has at least one Zombie App installed*. To minimize the risk of Zombie Apps, users should review and delete all apps not in use. Further, administrators can leverage Appthority to quickly identify Dead or Zombie apps and automatically notify affected employees.

3 | Review your privacy permissions

How many of your apps ask for your location? How about access to your camera or phone? Does the app really need that access to function? Does tracking occur all the time or only when the app is in use? Update your permissions and delete apps that require information that is unrelated to the app’s function. Adjust your settings for apps where permission makes sense at certain times. For example, setting your location tracking settings so an app never has access (if it’s not necessary) or only has access when you’re using the app can help safeguard your privacy.

* Appthority Enterprise Mobile Threat Report, Q1 2016

RESEARCH: Appthority Report Shows High Risk to Enterprises from Mobile Apps

Appthority recently released its Q1 2016 Enterprise Mobile Threat Report revealing the results of hundreds of thousands of mobile apps tested for risky behaviors including privacy invasive user surveillance and data leakage. The report is available for download here or see a video preview.