Bible and Qur’an apps hide malware in their digital pages

Digital copies of the Bible and Qur’an may offer comfort to believers, but they could also provide something decidedly less welcome, a study from security company Proofpoint has found.

Bible and Qur'an apps hide malware in their digital pages

It seems that 208 Bible apps include malicious code and 140 more were considered “high risk”. Your first thought at this point might be “wait, there are 348 Bible apps?”, in which case prepare to have your mind blown. The company analysed 5,600 of them to come up with this magic number: 4,154 for Android and 1,500 for iOS.

The need for one Bible app may be pretty clear, given a printed copy runs to around 1,900 pages, but 5,654 is probably excessive for all but the most digitally devout. Still, religious iOS users can breath easy: Proofpoint didn’t find any of the religious iOS apps misbehaving, with the malicious behaviour exclusively exhibited in Android apps.quaran_malicious_apps

What kind of thing? Well, you’re looking at data theft, zero-day exploits and communication with IP addresses linked with mischievous activity.

The Qur’an apps fared better, but that’s in part due to the fact there are less of them available for download: 3,804 for Android and 646 for iOS. Once again, iOS Qur’ans are in the clear, but 16 Android Qur’ans contained malicious code, with another 38 high risk. If you want to enjoy an entirely arbitrary stat from this data, it means that while 8.4% of digital Bibles contained malicious code, just 1.4% of digital Qur’ans did.

At the time of writing, Proofpoint hasn’t named and shamed the apps in question, as it’s going through a disclosure process with developers, but if you happen to have a few hundred Android Bibles on your phone, now might be the time to have a spring clean. Even if it is Christmas.

READ THIS NEXT: Here’s why 40 million people won’t have secure mobile internet in a month’s time.

Images: Ryk Neethling and Faris Algosaibi used under Creative Commons

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