Mobile App Security – Definition & Best Practices to Improve it?


IIH Global

Mobile App Security – Definition & Best Practices to Improve it?

Mobile application security is the practice of detecting, evaluating, and mitigating the risks posed by mobile apps at every stage of the software development lifecycle. 

The area involves strategies and methodologies to mitigate the negative impact and risk of cyber criminals obtaining credit card numbers and other confidential material from users.

Why is Mobile App Security Important?

Proactive mobile application security testing helps businesses to identify and address weaknesses in the mobile apps they create and use before they are deployed on the application stores, making it a centerpiece of cyber defense. When examining the security and privacy stance of mobile applications before being developed or used, mobile app security testing adopts the mindset of an intruder. Mobile apps should preferably be evaluated utilizing a combination of automated mobile application security testing and human mobile penetration tests for comprehensive coverage.

People rely on mobile applications to help them with a host of different activities, including managing their finances using digital wallets and banking apps, buying groceries, checking the subway schedule for their daily commute, ordering their favorite meals, and binge-watching movies and TV shows.

As of Q1 2022, there were more than 5.4 million apps available in the combined iOS and Android app stores, according to Statista. Furthermore, 70% of all online traffic is generated by mobile applications, which also monopolizes digital media consumption.

However, as the mobile ecosystem evolves, so do the vulnerabilities it poses. Mobile applications have grown to be a lucrative target for cybercriminals attempting to hijack accounts, commit fraud or identity theft, access intellectual property, conduct surveillance, or spread malware.

Some mobile app developers unwittingly create mobile applications with security and privacy issues that leak data and put everyone at risk in haste to develop new features that enhance user experience and draw in new clients. This practice can be seen excessively in ecommerce mobile app development.

Sensitive data, including a user's complete identity, password, email, mobile number, address, account number, device ID, device registration number, Social Security Number, and more, is known as Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

These cybercriminals can steal the users' confidential information and drive businesses to bankruptcy. Infractions of legislation, including the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the Global Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, can result in lost business, tarnished brand name, and financial penalties.

The Right Approach to Application Cyber Security

The security of mobile applications cannot just rely on technical upgrades. It calls for a radical shift and a proactive approach to mobile application risk evaluation.

Here's how you can enhance the security of your mobile application

  • Conduct routine digital security training within your company to train your team about cybersecurity. Plan regular training sessions with your employees to keep them inspired.
  • Keep an eye out for fraudulent apps that copy your name or logo. Don't let someone intruders tarnish your credibility.
  • Enhance the security of your data by putting high-level encryption and other security parameters in action.
  • To offer a cross-collaborative strategy throughout your whole business, think about adopting a SecOps policy. Making security a shared responsibility across all teams is key to SecOps.
  • Terminate user sessions abruptly. Implement an automated logout feature for users after a specific duration of idleness.
  • Use proactive corporate digital safety practices to combat identified and undefined threats in addition to anti-malware defense.
  • Test your encryption and other security protocols regularly, and fix any loopholes straight away.
  • Purchase advanced iOS and Android app security software. Your in-house team alone can't do everything on their own, especially in the realm of Android app development. Each operating system, be it Android or iOS, has particular possibilities for loopholes that can only be addressed by special software.

6 Steps to Get Your App Secured Against Cyber Attacks

Below are the industry best practices to enhance the security measures of your mobile application and protect confidential information from cyber-attacks.

Improved User Authentication

Improved mobile app accessibility restrictions should include multiple ways of user identity verification. Search for an authenticating server solution that covers multiple two-factor authentications (2FA) and password protection deployment strategies.

You can determine the need for improved authentication systems based on the sensitivity of the data involved and the estimated reputational damage any breach could do to your company.

Secured Supply Chain

A mobile app's third-party components can impact your mobile app's overall security. Make sure your development team follows strict protocols while choosing third-party libraries and frameworks, and ignore all the supply chain components that are not open-source.

Strong Encryption

A key component of data security is ensuring that data cannot be accessed by anybody who intercepts it. Make encryption a crucial part of the security framework for mobile apps as it converts data into an unusable format that cyber attackers cannot use.

Set Inactivity Time Outs

Applications that store sensitive data, like online banking apps, can have their security adversely endangered by ineffective session management. Set session timeouts to 15 minutes for high-risk apps and one hour for applications with minimal security. Use industry-standard technologies, such as those for session termination, when a new user signs in and provides security tokens.

Change Testing Strategy

Moving from periodical testing to a continuous testing approach is one option to change your testing strategy. This implies that developers will test continuously rather than testing at predetermined times. Automated testing and threat modeling can be used to continuously look for bugs that could expose users of your app to a cyberattack.

App Shielding

App shielding protects mobile apps from hacking, reverse engineering, and other vulnerabilities. It secures the data inside apps by isolating the user's data from the application code. It is a useful tool for mobile app security testing, whether done before or after an app has been launched.

Runtime application self-protection is a popular approach to app shielding (RASP). When doing mobile application security testing, RASP monitors the application's internal state, inputs, and outputs to help developers uncover flaws.

Final Thoughts

Disregarding the security of your business app can result in strong consequences and even lead businesses to a permanent shutdown. Most companies often overlook their mobile applications while building cybersecurity strategies. And yet, the mobile app remains the top target for cybercriminals.

Make sure your business is taking a pre-emptive approach and has set up high-security protocols to safeguard the confidential information on your application. And if you think your app has certain loop holes that can tarnish your credibility, contact a mobile app development company to conduct a security audit and get those vulnerabilities removed. 

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