Security researchers have found a large number of religious apps such as Bible or Quran mobile applications that contain malicious code.
The discovery was part of a study, which was conducted by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based security firm Proofpoint, and which demonstrated the latest instance of malware developers using popular apps to steal users’ personal data.
Bible apps are a worthwhile target for malware creators looking to reach large numbers of users. A single Bible app received over 50 million downloads. The researchers found three Bible apps that received over five million downloads each, and they discovered seventeen Bible apps that were each downloaded over one million times, according to a Proofpoint report published Wednesday.
The Proofpoint researchers examined 5,600 Bible apps (4,154 apps were for Android devices and 1,500 apps were for iOS). They found 208 of the Android apps contained malicious code and 140 were categorized as “high risk” apps.
“Many Bible apps do not have privacy policies, which is fitting since many apps send data about the user to a variety of countries, with some apps communicating to over fifty servers,” the report stated. “Some have added a wide variety of advertising and social networking capabilities, dramatically increasing the risk exposure of users.”