I asked J. Keating, vice-president of product strategy at Zimperium, why the travel apps tested had not been named, which would enable users to uninstall them. The total number of downloads for Android apps alone, as Google Play reveals these statistics whereas the Apple App Store doesn't, was million.
The security risk analysis included functionality and code usage, application capabilities and critical vulnerabilities. Each app was then rated on a scale of zero to ; the higher the rating, the higher the risk.
To pass the testing regime, an app needed to demonstrate that it had very few risks and did a better than average job of protecting user data. If an app showed significant risks with a below-average job of protecting user data, it failed. All 30 iOS travel apps used an authentication method that could enable attackers to intercept communication of sensitive data between the app and the internet.
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Although the Android numbers look ever so slightly better at first glance, there were more security issues as a whole than when compared to the iOS apps. Analyzing the apps against the OWASP mobile top 10 best practice list, some general and troubling issues emerged for apps on both platforms. As far as mitigation advice is concerned, this falls into two distinct camps: app developer and app user.
As for the app developers, Keating invites them to contact Zimperium to get detailed analysis as well as downloading the OWASP mobile top 10 to understand the recommendations provided. While they think they are building a good solution that customers want, they may also unintentionally introduce risk. Tour operators create cheap vacation packages and you book them with just one click.
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Which travel apps are putting users at risk?
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