It is has been clear for a long time that computers are only safe if you secure them correctly. This isn’t equally true of each platform, however. While the Macintosh has only a few known security issues, and many Linux distros are seen as airtight, the standard PC is a haven for the bacteria of the programming world. As we approach a new form of platform, we must again ask the question of “how safe is this?” The platform we are referring to are the mobile applications for both tablets (such as the iPad) and mobile phones (such as those on the Apple, Android, and Microsoft network).
This really hasn’t been a concern until just recently. We can peg the lack of concern on a lack of interest in the field in general. It was only once the Apple iPhone and Android market were fully introduced that people began raising concerns. Among the top concerns is the level of access granted to applications.
Free applications were surveyed in mid-2010 to examine their level of access to the data on the phone. Almost fifteen percent of Apple apps and almost ten percent of Android apps were able to access contact data on the phone; something neither necessary nor comforting for app users. The same survey showed that nearly half of Apple applications use insecure third party coding which could be used to change the phone data.
There are hundreds of different application developers creating thousands and thousands of applications. While it may be true that most of them are safe, there are still plenty which have security issues. It would be a false assumption to say that these developers are maliciously trying to access your data. However, their less than careful approach to programming the software may create security cracks: cracks that can be exploited by those of less than pure intent.
As with Linux distros, the application markets review all software prior to making it available. This is a great level of security, but one that must be increased for maximum safety.