As Android Grows, Users And Developers Lose

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By Vanessa Francisco | December 18, 2013 5:44 PM EST

New research reports showed that while Google's Android OS continues to grow, developers and users stand to lose when it comes to app sales and security.

Reports featured the collected and analyzed data, showing that 56% of the top 100 applications for Apple iOS platform had their security compromised so users can get them outside of the iTunes App Store. While that's already high, what's more surprising is that 100% of top Android applications have been compromised.

This reality appears to stay under the radar since Android's free and open source nature would really allow "hackers" to easily duplicate applications but the numbers are still bad news for the users across the board. These hacked applications do not offer any certification process, which means that users who download these applications from sources outside Google Play Store or iTunes App Store are more likely to have their data compromised.

As the number of Android users grows, so does the users who override their device's default settings to download apps from sources other than the Google Play Store.

Privacy is a major concern but developers appear to lose even more as Android's market share grows. Developers who make Android-specific applications stand a bigger chance of having their app's features and codes stolen by other developers. This app piracy could make developers hesitate about investing in Android applications and this could stunt the platform's growth.

Developers should then create mobile applications that prioritize protections that deal with payments, transactions, sensitive data or those that have high value IPs. Users should be encouraged to be more vigilant about the Android apps they download after allowing their device to download apps from sources other than the Google Play Store.

As Android grows, the rate of cracked downloads and installations will also only grow. Android shipped as the OS on 74% of smartphones in 2012 but the number ballooned to 84% in 2013. It is easy for users to get their hands on compromised and hacked applications as it even used Google Search to compile results. This shows a pretty low entry barrier for regular smartphone users.

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