Mobile apps are easy to create and, through an ever widening network of app stores, easy to distribute. The public has an almost insatiable appetite for mobile apps that promise to save them time or money, and that is where some consumers - and brands - can begin to see trouble.
What trends are you seeing in the mobile space?
Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, CMO, BrandProtect: Mobile apps have rapidly become the "environment of choice" for Internet scammers. In just one year, McAfee Labs reports that the total number of mobile malware samples has grown by 167 percent. if a mobile app is carrying your brand, and you don't know what it does, and how it works, you are putting your reputation at a potentially grave risk.
Malicious mobile apps are becoming more and more ruthless. They are basically malware dressed up as a time or money saving app. For example, most mobile apps request (and are granted) access to a user's contacts (address book) and social media contacts (social media login credentials and friends' lists). Other mobile apps access SMS messaging or email, or wireless network credentials. Apps also frequently access geo-location information, photo albums and cameras.
What are the dangers for brands in the app space?
Brands need to have a high awareness of offerings in the mobile app space.
For companies that publish mobile apps, third party applications - benign or malicious - that carry the company's brand, clutter up the app store listings and the search results. In some cases, third party applications can bump legitimate apps to lower positions on the app store search results. In that case, the infringing application is literally reducing the reach of the company's official apps, because fewer people will find the official application if it is lower on the search results list.