So how much do all those mobile apps care about your security? Some not so much.

As we invariably move more and more into a mobile computing world questions need to be asked about just how secure our information that we are sharing all over the place really is. The need for serious mobile security can be highlighted by the news this past week that Citibank had to notify users of their mobile app that their personal information could have been vulnerable to hackers, or other apps.

In the light of this type of news a company called Lookout, which manufactures security software for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile phones, announced a new study called the App Genome Project. As part of the study Lookout scanned almost 300,000 apps in the iPhone and Android app stores, after which they downloaded and analysed almost 100,000 free apps.

In a post yesterday Lookout provided some early findings

Early findings show differences in the sensitive data that is being accessed by Android and iPhone applications, as well as a proliferation of third party code in applications across both platforms. Stats include:

  • 29% of free applications on Android have the capability to access a user’s location, compared with 33% of free applications on iPhone
  • Nearly twice as many free applications have the capability to access user’s contact data on iPhone (14%) as compared to Android (8%)
  • 47% of free Android apps include third party code, while that number is 23% on iPhone*

* Examples of third party code includes code that enables mobile ads to be served and analytic tracking for developers.

They will be presenting their complete findings at this week’s big security conference – Black Hat Security Conference – which they say will be the largest mobile dataset ever created.