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20 Apr 2015
by David Jannetta
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MOBILE APPREHENSION: THE GROWING PROBLEM OF COUNTERFEIT AND PIRATED MOBILE APPLICATIONS

MOBILE APPREHENSION: THE GROWING PROBLEM OF COUNTERFEIT AND PIRATED MOBILE APPLICATIONS

The problem of fake mobile apps continues to grow and to attract attention. In his recent LegalMatter blog post, attorney Brian Meli highlighted the fact that almost all major brands spend “considerable time, energy and treasure to safeguarding their valuable trademark and copyright assets from would-be infringers” in the online world.  However, he says most are ignoring the enormous infringement activity in the mobile app marketplaces.

For three years now, IP Lasso has been at the forefront of the battle to bring rogue apps under control.  Not only do they often contain viruses and malware, but they can steal all sorts of personal data from a user’s device (see our previous posts about location tracking and WireLurker malware). […]

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24 Mar 2015
by Reggie Pierce
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Every 3 Minutes, Smartphones Track User’s Location

Every 3 Minutes, Smartphones Track User’s Location

Most smartphone users today are aware that some apps track their physical location. It’s a necessary part of providing services like GPS navigation, location-aware notifications, and sharing locations on social networks. However, few people pay attention to how often apps request location data.

In a recent study from Carnegie Mellon University, the apps in a typical users’ phone made an average of 6,200 location requests per week.

This amounts to tracking an individual’s location every 3 minutes.

Many apps requested information far more often than seems necessary. The Weather Channel, for example, collected location data 2,000 times per week on average during the study (roughly every 10 minutes). […]

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17 Mar 2015
by Carol Wong
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Google Play Adds Human Review, Age Ratings

Google Play Adds Human Review, Age Ratings

Google has taken a big step towards making its Play Store safer for both users and brands. In a blog post today, Google announced that it has quietly added a human element to its app review process, and also will be adding age ratings to apps posted on the Play Store.

In the past, Google Play apps were vetted by software designed to catch violations of Google’s developer policy through image matching. However, as we have seen, plenty of IP infringing and less-than-secure apps still made their way into the store and users’ devices. […]

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18 Feb 2015
by Reggie Pierce
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With Windows 10 Coming, Expect More Xbox One Apps

With Windows 10 Coming, Expect More Xbox One Apps

Soon anyone with an Xbox One will be able to develop apps for it. This summer, according to The Verge, Microsoft will allow retail Xbox One units to be turned into developer kits. Currently only a small number of developers are allowed to create apps for the incredibly popular game console, so this new open policy from Microsoft is expected to bring a large influx of apps to the platform.

To prepare for the increased flow of apps, Microsoft is said to be overhauling its app submission process. This is also part of the company’s preparation for the release of Windows 10, which will bring the separate Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Xbox One app platforms together under one roof, with universal apps running across the three device types. […]

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13 Feb 2015
by Reggie Pierce
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Introducing Our New Website and U-Marketplaces

Introducing Our New Website and U-Marketplaces

With the launch of our new website, we are pleased to announce that we now monitor 14 u-marketplaces for our clients. IP Lasso coined the term u-marketplace™ to describe the growing number of user-created content marketplaces appearing in the mobile and online world.

At IP Lasso, we are excited by the opportunity for disruptive new technologies and products to take off on the app stores or online merchandise stores. However, we also recognize that the open nature of u-marketplaces makes them ripe targets for fraud and intellectual property infringement. We are committed to protecting brands across u-marketplaces, and will continue to add new ones to our dashboard. […]

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14 Jan 2015
by Carol Wong
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Google Dominates App Store Growth in 2014

Google Dominates App Store Growth in 2014

2014 was another explosive year for growth in mobile apps, with Google Play taking the top spot in terms of total number of apps for the first time since Apple’s App Store was launched in 2008. Google Play also saw its ranks of developers swell faster than Apple or Amazon, reaching 388,000 in total.

Analytics firm appFigures has posted a useful overview of 2014 growth trends, which can be viewed here.

With Google Play emerging as a dominant force across more metrics, we can expect fraudulent app development to increase apace thanks to Google’s lax policies about app publishing. […]

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09 Jan 2015
by David Jannetta
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Apple App Store Sales Up 50%

Apple App Store Sales Up 50%

Apple App Store revenues have increased 50% to around $15 billion in 2014, up from over $10 billion in 2013. This data comes as part of Apple’s initiative to emphasize its positive impact on the US economy, but it also highlights some important comparisons with Google’s Play Store.

In the third quarter of 2014, about 84% of smartphones shipped ran Google’s Android platform, which it makes freely available to smartphone manufacturers and cellular carriers. This compares to 12% for Apple handsets, according to research firm IDC.

Sales from the Google Play store totaled only about $7 billion in the 13 months preceding June 2014, the company said. […]

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23 Dec 2014
by Carol Wong
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Snapchat Removes Clones

Snapchat Removes Clones

Snapchat finally seems to be taking its users’ privacy more seriously, but at a cost; many users are upset at the sweeping action taken this week to remove all unauthorized Snapchat apps from the Windows Phone store.

Apps like 6Snap were popular among Windows Phone users, who have no official Snapchat app available to them. This lack of support from Snapchat has even led to a Change.org petition that has 4,767 signatures at the time of this writing, and a new Snapchat clone, 3snap, has been uploaded in the days since Snapchat took action. […]

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24 Nov 2014
by Carol Wong
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Most Top iOS and Android Apps Have Been Hacked

Most Top iOS and Android Apps Have Been Hacked

According to a new report by security company Arxan Technologies, a majority of the top 100 paid apps and the 20 most popular free apps have been hacked. Arxan looked at apps on the two most popular app stores, Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store, and found startling results.

By searching for apps that were hacked to create repackaged or cloned copies of the original app, Arxan focused on hacked apps that are likely to affect typical consumers. They note that “separate analysis has revealed that over 50% of cloned apps are malicious and therefore pose serious risks.”

Highlights from Arxan’s report include the hacking of 97% of the top 100 paid Android apps, 87% of the top 100 paid iOS apps, 95% of top Android financial apps, and 90% of top Android medical apps, with 22% of those bearing FDA approval. […]

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07 Nov 2014
by Reggie Pierce
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WireLurker Malware Threatens 800 Million Apple Mobile Devices

WireLurker Malware Threatens 800 Million Apple Mobile Devices

Apple’s iOS has historically been the safest mobile operating system in terms of malware threats, but 800 million devices could now be at risk from a new breed of malware known as WireLurker.

Identified by Palo Alto Networks Inc., WireLurker is “capable of stealing a variety of information from the mobile devices it infects and regularly requests updates from the attackers command and control server,” according to their thirty page report. “This malware is under active development and its creator’s ultimate goal is not yet clear.”

There have been several reports recently of mobile malware with the potential to steal sensitive information such as banking data or Social Security Numbers, including Android Fake ID and user interface state interference attacks. […]

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