What I discovered about is the result of casually observing some of only a few dozen apps I have installed on my iOS devices. There are about half a million more out there and if I were a betting man, my money would be the issues above only being the tip of the iceberg.
You can kind of get how these issues happen; every man and his dog appears to be building mobile apps these days and a low bar to entry is always going to introduce some quality issues. But Facebook? And Qantas? What are their excuses for making security take a back seat?
Developers can get away with more sloppy or sneaky practices in mobile apps as the execution is usually further out of view.
You can smack the user with a massive asynchronous download as their attention is on other content; but it kills their data plan.
You can track their moves across entirely autonomous apps; but it erodes their privacy.
And most importantly to me, you can jeopardise their security without their noticing; but the potential ramifications are severe.
If you look for people with grey hair, you'll find people who care about bytes, pixels and processor cycles because we learned to code on machines with 16K of RAM and 1MHz processors. And this is why, despite the fact that I'm no longer in the tech industry, I keep "6502 assembly" and "Atari/Commodore home computers" at the end of my tech resume. Because that's code for "gives a shit about resources."
Really? I went to UPitt, and we had an assembly language course. Hell, even the tiny liberal arts school I started at had an assembly language course. Why the hell doesn't MIT or CMU?
A common scenario: an Instapaper customer is stocking up an iPad for a long flight. She syncs a bunch of movies and podcasts, downloads some magazines, and buys a few new games, leaving very little free space. Right before boarding, she remembers to download the newest issue of The Economist. (I think highly of my customers.) This causes free space to fall below the threshold that triggers the cleaner, which — in the background, unbeknownst to her — deletes everything that was saved in Instapaper. Later in the flight, with no internet connectivity, she goes to launch Instapaper and finds it completely empty.
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