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Marble Security's PrivacyHawk Identifies Risky Android Apps That Steal Personal Data and Take Over Smartphones

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 3, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The scary fact is that nearly 30 percent of all those free mobile apps that smartphone users love actually capture and sell your contacts, text messages, Web browsing histories and photos.1 App developers earn money two ways: charging for their app or selling your sensitive data.

Now Android smartphone users can take control with Marble Security's PrivacyHawk, a mobile privacy and security app that analyzes and scores apps on your device, detecting privacy-leaking and dangerous apps. PrivacyHawk shows what personal data these apps access and graphically maps where in the world each app sends your data. PrivacyHawk empowers you to choose which apps to trust and which to delete to preserve your privacy and reduce risks. PrivacyHawk is a free download and is available now on the Google Play Store.

"With little thought to the consequences, smartphone users casually give sweeping permissions to mobile apps to upload and use private information stored on their devices," said Dave Jevans, CEO, chairman and CTO of Marble Security. "What they do not understand is that once uploaded, personal data is frequently sold to advertisers around the world. That data, in turn, can be easily stolen or purchased by cybercriminals, hackers, hostile governments and aggressive advertising networks to mount highly targeted phishing and social media attacks. The stolen, or more accurately 'gifted,' personal information poses a threat to the users themselves, their personal contacts, their employers and any companies or banks with which they do business. We developed PrivacyHawk as an effective tool for mobile users to check on the apps they download and identify those that abuse personal data, or worse, still actually contain malware."

PrivacyHawk identifies dangerous apps on a smartphone, explains exactly what private information apps are accessing and shows where each app sends uploaded data with a geo-mapping feature. It also:

  • Detects malware, viruses and apps that steal private information
  • Lets users check app risk before downloading to the mobile device
  • Allows users to rate apps and contribute to the PrivacyHawk community

Marble Security's app analysis engine powers PrivacyHawk as well as its enterprise service, AppHawk. The mobile threat intelligence platform is continuously updated with the latest information from Marble's own lab and other global security sources to protect customers from emerging threats and malware. Risky apps that violate your privacy may:

  • Send your entire contact database to servers across the Internet, exposing personal data to advertisers, spammers and criminal networks
  • Access, read and mine your email, cloud storage or social media accounts
  • Read text messages and phone call histories, enabling third parties to socially engineer your profile
  • Read Web browser histories, allowing advertisers or attackers to learn where you live, work and bank
  • Attempt to jailbreak or root mobile devices without your knowledge

To learn more, visit Marble's website or read the PrivacyHawk data sheet.

Recent Mobile Threat Stats from Marble Labs

Marble's team of analysts, cryptographers and cybercrime specialists has analyzed more than 3.5 million iOS and Android apps from more than 650,000 publishers. Each app is scored against 1,000 potentially malicious and privacy-leaking behaviors to determine whether it is risky or safe. Here are some highlights of their latest research, published in Marble's February 2015 Mobile Threat Report.

  • The U.S. accounts for more than 42 percent of the world's most dangerous mobile apps targeting non-jailbroken and non-rooted devices. These apps aren't found on shady third-party stores—they're found right in the trusted Apple App Store and Google Play—putting the everyday consumer at higher risk for privacy violation than they likely realize
  • China is the second largest publisher of malicious and highly risky apps at almost 18 percent of the world's output
  • Nearly one in 10 mobile apps from China puts smartphone users at risk, as do 7 percent of Taiwanese apps and 4 percent of Singapore's

Resources

About Marble Security

Marble Security is the leading provider of mobile threat intelligence and defense. The company's research and response team of developers and cybercrime specialists has analyzed millions of Android and iOS apps, detecting apps with malicious and privacy-leaking behaviors that frequently lead to advanced persistent threats (APTs), spear phishing attacks on employees and other information security risks.

AppHawk by Marble Security delivers comprehensive, correlated threat intelligence for Android and iOS devices. Marble integrates directly with mobile device management (MDM) or enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions, providing granular risk control for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs.

Visit Marble at www.marblesecurity.com, or follow us on Twitter at @Marble_Security.

1 Marble Security, Mobile App Report, January 2014, http://bit.ly/1FCf5MF

CONTACT: Deb Montner Montner & Associates 203-226-9290 dmontner@montner.com

Source:Marble Security Inc.