Australia is the world’s worst for mobile app threats


Australia is the country with the highest percentage of detected mobile app threats, according to a new study.

Endpoint-to-cloud security provider Lookout has released the latest results from its Lookout App Threats Map, a threat intelligence index based on analysis of more than 160 million apps worldwide.

Latest data reveals that, globally, Australians are the population most at risk from mobile app threats by device, and iPhone users are much more likely to download a risky app than a user of Android.

“Australians may have become complacent about downloading apps to their phones, at a time when the risks are higher than ever,” says Don Tan, senior director for Asia-Pacific and the Japan, Lookout.

“Across the country, they’re using their phones to check in, order food and more. This common use of phones may have bred complacency about the apps they download. But they must become more vigilant than ever.

The Lookout app’s threat map is derived from anonymized telemetry data extracted from the Lookout Security Graph. The Security Graph analyzes telemetry data from over 200 million devices and 160 million apps, ingesting and analyzing over four million URLs every day. By leveraging artificial intelligence, Lookout protects customers against phishing, app, device and network threats in a way that respects user privacy. Using machine learning on data allows Lookout MES to automatically detect threats before they are seen.

Lookout Mobile Endpoint Security creates a fingerprint of every mobile device and compares it with data from over 185 countries to continuously monitor and protect against mobile risks. The current map data covers the period from February 2021 to March 2022.

“Crimes targeting smartphone users may seem low-risk and invisible until we see Australia on a map, colored red, with the highest number of app threats compared to its global counterparts. That’s when it starts to get very real,” says Tan.

“People across Australia need to become more vigilant when downloading apps or else this number will increase and their financial details and other personal information will continue to fall into the hands of criminals,” he says.

“It’s important that people check the links attached to anything they download, as well as the number of downloads and customer reviews on the App Store.”

More mobile app threats detected on iOS than Android devices

In addition to Australia having the highest rate of mobile app threats in the world, the Lookout app threat map revealed that the vast majority of these threats originated from iOS devices (30.1%) rather than Android devices (1.2%).

Tan says this indicates a degree of security complacency that exists within the iOS user community.

“Apple does an outstanding job of mobile security, and because of that strong reputation, its users can often be lax with their own security practices,” he says.

“It’s dangerous to operate on the assumption that whatever device you use is completely safe, regardless of manufacturer, and people should apply the same safety precautions to every device they use.”


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