Free Apple Apps Threaten Online Security

Apple has announced a sale on apps this week as part of the 5th anniversary celebration of the App Store. But the super sale going on at the Apple App Store may not be the greatest thing to happen for iPad and iPhone users. Hackers are bound to be excited about this new opportunity to float fake apps loaded with malware.

Some of the apps that are up for grabs include the previously $20 TraktorDJ, $10 How to Cook Everything, and Warner Bros games like Batman Arkham City Lockdown and the Lego Harry Potter series. A predicted hundreds of thousands of downloads will be recorded this week, particularly today. Billions of dollars are spent on apps every year. That equates to a huge potential for a new batch of infected devices to repopulate hacker servers with fresh user data and a new army for their botnets.

News about malicious apps floating around isn’t new. Even the App Store which was always thought secure was found to house malicious apps. The continuing surge in app use is a sign that mobile device users aren’t as scared of malware as they should be. The best that security companies can do is to warn people. But app fanatics just keep downloading, hoping that they can beat the odds.

Companies can also do their part to help secure the apps they endorse. Apple is far from a haven for malware, but some still escape the security net. But could this sale also be an attempt by Apple to secure its app users? Perhaps providing genuine versions of popular apps for free would draw more users away from the more dangerous third party apps and fake duplicates. Critics believe that it’s just your average clearance sale to make way for new and better apps, but the sale could inadvertently result in safer app downloading.

But hackers should never be underestimated, and avid app downloaders are warned to be extremely cautious when selecting apps that are on sale this week. Hasty downloading to get as many free apps as possible before time runs out is what many malware developers are hoping for. Be sure that your device is secured with a VPN to help you detect any hidden malware. And be careful to check if links take you outside the App Store.

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