Over half (57%) of monitored apps are susceptible to cyber threats

Anne Freer | September 21, 2023

App Business

In a study that pulls back the curtain on the escalating cybersecurity challenges of our digital age, a staggering 57% of monitored apps were found to be at risk of cyber threats. This recent data comes from a comprehensive survey carried out by Digital.ai, who gleaned insights from their global application security clientele.

App popularity does not equal higher risk of attacks

Gaming apps, which constitute a significant portion of the digital landscape, seem particularly exposed, with 63% reporting attacks. Financial Services apps, intricately tied to the world’s financial arteries, are not far behind at 62%. These numbers underscore the mounting pressures these sectors face in ensuring user trust and data integrity.

Interestingly, an app’s standing in popularity charts doesn’t necessarily equate to its vulnerability. The survey revealed a disconnect: there’s no consistent correlation between an app’s popularity and its likelihood of facing an attack.

However, the operating system appears to play a significant role in an app’s security paradigm. Android apps, for instance, find themselves more frequently housed in riskier environments, with 76% at potential risk compared to iOS apps, which stand at 55%. This trend is consistent with the observation that Android apps have a 28% likelihood of operating with altered code, a stark contrast to the 6% probability for their iOS counterparts.

Android apps more likely to see attacks

Source: Digital.ai

The statistics presented are based on point-in-time data, curated between February 1 and February 28, 2023. As the digital realm continues to expand and mutate, these insights offer a telling snapshot of the challenges — and imperatives — facing developers and businesses today.

Multiple factors raise risk of cyper attacks

A combination of factors is increasing the likelihood of cyber attacks in 2023.

  • Tools in the Wrong Hands: Hacking tools are getting better and more accessible. Tools like Ghidra and Frida are becoming more sophisticated, making it easier for cybercriminals to carry out attacks.
  • Cryptocurrencies and Easy Cashouts: Cybercriminals find it simpler to cash out from their schemes, especially when using ransomware, thanks to cryptocurrencies and P2P payment apps.
  • Nationalisation of Attacks: Cyberattacks are not just isolated efforts anymore. Some may have backing from governments, giving hackers more resources and power.

Gaming apps and fintech apps more likely to be attacked

Source: Digital.ai

This growing threat highlights the need for strong cybersecurity measures.

“Application owners know all too well the pressures of creating more apps, faster, especially with the addition of AI-code assist tools,” said Derek Holt, CEO, Digital.ai. “This leads to security getting short-changed; it is often not included the DevOps process or it is seen as an impediment without an obvious starting point. Digital.ai’s platform enables teams to inject security capabilities and procedures early into the development cycle, without blocking innovation or slowing down the development and delivery process. This means security teams can monitor applications in production for better visibility into when apps are at risk.”

Key takeaways

  • A staggering 57% of monitored apps are at risk of cyber threats
  • Android apps face a higher risk (76%) compared to iOS apps (55%)
  • Gaming apps (63%) and Financial Services apps (62%) are particularly exposed to attacks

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