Today Apple launched the Mac App Store, a marketplace for small apps and widgets on Mac OSX. Until recently, the “app” marketplace has been dominated by smartphone based stores such as the iPhone App Store (which also services iPod and iPad users) and the Android Marketplace. Recently, however, Google launched the Chrome Web Store for browser extensions in an attempt to gain market share before the Mac App Store launched. In a lot of ways, the so-called “App War” is heating up as businesses try to monetize the easy-to-create little programs.
From a security perspective, it’s important to stay aware of what developers are doing with your data. The recent Facebook App scandal brought a lot of awareness to the fact that trusting apps with access to personal information is never a good idea. Furthermore, quickly written applications that are pushed to market before being thoroughly tested can lead to a plethora of security problems. The introduction of desktop based apps–instead of browser extensions or cell phone programs–is an interesting change in an age of thin clients and cloud computing, but it also gives potentially malicious app developers access to a significantly juicier target: your actual computer and all of its data.
Although mobile device security policies are already a necessity for any enterprise environment, the rise of desktop apps may prompt further additions to corporate security: no one wants anything that’s potentially harmful on a sensitive network. Of course, the vast majority of apps you’ll find online are absolutely harmless, but one must always think twice before running someone else’s code.
Does your company have a mobile security policy? If not download one here!