#36 – Abandoned Apps: The Back Door To Your Mobile Phone

…or listen on any of these podcatchers!

itunes google spotify-badge-large-png-1280 player over listen

EFFECTED USERS: Anyone with a Smartphone.

Hair of fire 4 of 5

SUMMARY: Adidas bought Runtastic’s suite of apps.  They kept the jogging/running app, but abandoned the cycling app.

How do you find out if apps on your phone have been abandoned? There is *no* automated process for this.

Here with me to talk about this today is: Joe Carson.

Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist and Advisory CISO, Thycotic.  He has 25 years of experience in enterprise security, an InfoSec Award winner, author of Privileged Account Management for Dummies, AND Cybersecurity for Dummies.

CHECKLIST: How to get abandoned apps off your phone:

  1. Run every OS update ASAP.
  2. Ask yourself: are you still using it? Suggestion: Make a folder of ‘No Value’ or ‘Pending delete.’ After a month, get rid of them.
  3. Do you have an account (ex: username and password)?
  4. Delete Data (GDPR) Suggestion: you may have to hunt in the app’s website, or google, ‘How do I delete my data in ____app?”
  5. Delete or Close your account
  6. Delete the app only after all other steps are complete.

Yes, that is a ridiculously complex process, which could be automated, but it is not.


How do you find out if an app is abandoned:

  1. Check app store/google play.
  2. If your app still listed? If not, it is likely abandoned.
  3. If your app is listed, then open the listing to see when was it last updated?  If more than a year, it is very likely abandoned or poorly maintained.


Why is an abandoned app dangerous?

  • you are not informed
  • vulnerabilities can be unintentiaonlly put in apps, but need to fixed by the developer when the problem is discovered.
  • Abandoned apps don’t get updated, and are therefore at risk.

What needs to be deleted>

  • App on your phone
  • Account in the app
  • Previous Data collected

Published by

David W. Schropfer

David W. Schropfer is the CEO of SAFE (Smartphone Authentication For Everyone), a cybersecurity company in New York (www.theSafe.io).  Every day, he and his team of professionals keep the people who use The SAFE Button protected from some of the most common traps, hacks and attacks that target computer systems of all sizes. David is the author of the bestselling cybersecurity book, Digital Habits: 5 Simple Tips to Help Keep You and Your Information Safe Online. His previous books, including The Smartphone Wallet and industry whitepapers, predicted some of the biggest trends in the payments, mobile, and security industries.  Since graduating Boston College, David earned an Executive MBA from the University of Miami.