Mobile health (mHealth) apps are an ideal tool for monitoring and tracking long-term health conditions. In this paper, we examine whether mHealth apps succeed in ensuring the privacy, security, and safety of the health data entrusted to them. We investigate 154 apps from Android app stores using both automatic code and metadata analysis and a manual analysis of functionality and data leakage. Our study focuses on hypertension and diabetes, two common health conditions that require careful tracking of personal health data.
We find that many apps do not provide privacy policies or safe communications, are implemented in an insecure fashion, fail basic input validation tests and often have overall low code quality which suggests additional security and safety risks. We conclude with recommendations for App Stores, App developers, and end users.