The Apple App Store used to be a safe haven. No malicious apps could pass through its strict application review process, but it seems its wall of fortitude is crumbling. There have been reports of multiple fake Bitcoin apps appearing in the App Store. Fake apps can be used to steal user information, but in the recent case, it was used to steal users’ bitcoins. Previously, if consumers wanted legit apps, all they had to do was make sure they were downloading apps from legit app stores. With fake apps making their way into legit app stores, where will consumers turn to in search of safe apps?
This is the problem Will Strafach, a mobile security expert, aims to address with the new Verify.ly service (sign-in required). It allows users to check the validity of the apps they want to download. It is esentially a service, for lack of a better term, that gives a “seal of approval” and warns whether an app can cause harm when downloaded or not.
Proactive app approach
Verify.ly is described as a service that is able to know everything about the app, what data it is able to access (such as contacts) and what parts of the contact (photos, first name, phone number etc.) it is able to access. It will also tell you when the app is accessing the location of the device. Verify.ly is a free service offered to individuals who want to take a more proactive approach in keeping their data secured, but it also offers a paid version directed at the enterprise.
Signing up is easy. Users just need to provide a username, valid email account, and a password. From there, you will see 25 of the top applications in iOS. Clicking on an app will open detailed information about what the app does or what information it takes from users. There is also a search bar where you can look for other apps.
Verify.ly is in public beta, which means that though you can search for an app in the service, data as to what the app does may not be available.
Photo credit: Verify.ly