Free casino and racing game apps available on smartphones pose the biggest security risk to mobile users, a new report has revealed.
Juniper Networks's Mobile Threat Centre found that the Android apps, downloaded via the Google Play store, were the biggest offenders when it comes to accessing device functions such as camera and address book for unknown purposes.
The report also said that hundreds of thousands of apps could expose sensitive data or access unnecessary device functionality.
The results came after the firm analysed over 1.7 million apps on the Google Play store between March 2011 and September 2012, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The report said that free gambling apps, which simply imitate popular casino games for fun, accessed a number of features without justification.
According to the report, 94 per cent accessed phone calls, 83 per cent accessed the camera, 85 per cent could send SMS.
Ninety-nine per cent of paid, and 92 per cent of free, racing game apps could send SMS, half of free downloaded apps could use the camera, 94 per cent of free games could make outgoing phone calls, the report added.
In some cases, casino apps accessed the camera so users could insert a personal background picture into the interface.ome financial apps also allowed users to call financial institutions.
Overall, compared to their paid counterparts, free downloads were four times more likely to track location, and they were three times more likely to access user address books, the report said.