Feb 4, 2015 · 1 minute

A report from Marble Security claims more privacy-invading applications are made in the United States than in Korea, Taiwan, China, and India combined.

"It’s a common misconception that the risk of using mobile devices is limited to jailbroken or rooted devices in Asia, and apps that are downloaded from fly-by-night app stores other than the Apple App Store or Google Play," Marble Security says in the short preamble to its report. "Nothing can be further from the truth."

The "mobile threat intelligence and defense" company claims it inspected "more than one million" applications from both the App Store and the Play Store. Some 40 percent of dubious applications found were said to have been made in the US.

That figure includes apps which use data without a consumer's knowledge, lead to malicious websites, and possess security vulnerabilities, among other issues. Some of those issues are clearly malicious; others are the result of incompetence.

Either way, the report shows it's hard to know what applications can be trusted. It doesn't matter where the app was made, how many downloads it has, or whether it was downloaded from an official software marketplace -- it can still be insecure.

Avast supports that point with a report about "adware" that attempts to scare consumers into visiting malicious websites by showing false warnings whenever a device is unlocked. Some of those apps have been downloaded millions of times.

Perhaps the best way to know how personal information will be used is to only download software from large, trusted companies -- and even then there are no guarantees that a company won't collect information it doesn't need to function.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]