Apple App Store Vs. Google Play: The Security Showdown

1532 words - 6 pages

The International Telecommunications Union estimates there are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide (mobiThinking). The growth of mobile computing in both the workforce and for personal use has also caused a growth in the malware and mobile botnets available to mobile devices (Symantec). To be able to properly protect the mobile device and environment, security teams should be looking at building in and not just bolting on security mechanisms. It is a fairly common saying now among security professionals that it is not if you will be hacked or breached it is a matter of when. However, by using common sense and choosing methods that offer a better defense in depth strategy, users and security organizations can minimize or greatly reduce the likelihood of sensitive data loss. One way to build in security is to work from the source of where it might originate from, in this case the application delivering the potential malicious content. While this paper is not going to focus on the ins and outs of application security the goal is to determine if the delivery mechanism for those applications is secure by comparing and contrasting the security of the two largest distributors of mobile applications, the Apple App Store/iTunes Store and Google Play.
Some of the topics that will be discussed and compared and contrasted between the two application (app) stores are, developer registration, application code signing, and the application vetting process. Let it be reiterated that these security controls apply to just the app stores themselves and not to the overall security and the security controls that are also available as part of the device and its operating system. These are the precautions that are taken by the companies who own the operating systems and what they do to help ensure that the apps being offered from their stores are as safe as possible.
So what is required to be an app developer? Besides just having the idea of the app and the knowledge and skill to make that idea a reality what does one have to do to offer their app to the consumer? Per the Apple Developer’s web page https://developer.apple.com/programs/start/standard/ after developing and testing you application you must register and apply to be an Apple iOS developer. The base program requires that the developer pay a $99 a year fee to be registered as a developer, either as an individual or as a Company/Organization. This requires that you submit information about yourself including name and address or if a company your legal company name or D-U-N-S number. DUNS is a unique 9 digit number provided by Dun & Bradstreet for each physical location of a business (Dun & Bradstreet, 2014). According to Tom Easton (Eston, T., 2012) individuals must supply their social security number, but based on the public information from the Apple Developers website this information could not be confirmed or denied. For those wanting to offer their apps on Google Play...

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