Mobile phones allow us to complete most of our daily activities online without the need for a computer. It is possible to use your mobile to check your emails, shop online and even conduct your online banking activities.
All of this is possible thanks to the widespread adoption of smartphones and a range of mobile applications. These applications connect to APIs and servers around the globe to provide data, services and enhanced user convenience.
It should not come as a surprise that due to the extensive amount of information and data related to the user, those looking to exploit a weakness in the application and gain access to this data pose a risk that could yield devastating consequences for those who happen to fall victim.
Mobile applications and their APIs can, unfortunately, have hidden vulnerabilities within the systems which house them, which has the potential to lead to sensitive becoming unsecure. End users typically give little regard to the security of a mobile app and trust that are 100% secure.
However, if a security or data breach were to occur, this could have devastating consequences for your business due to a loss of trust from customers, resulting in a loss of revenue and valuable time spent rebuilding your reputation.
How Can Mobile Applications be Exploited?
- It is possible for hackers to place malware in apps or on actual mobile devices, meaning that both the hardware and software of a mobile phone are a risk factor. This allows them to access data, including security questions and passwords.
- Mimic a mobile application and trick users into believing it is the genuine application and downloading it.
- Intercept sensitive information being transferred.
How to Protect a Mobile App?
If you’re developing an application, then mobile security is paramount and should be at the forefront of your planning, design and build processes. The following methods will ensure that you are making your app as secure as possible in both the short and medium-term.
Invest in a Dedicated Security Solution
Investing in a dedicated mobile application protection system to protect your existing and future applications is probably the most reliable way in which to ensure that you are providing a fully secure experience for your customers.
Developments within the mobile security sphere mean that there are now options available that deliver a seamless user experience (UX), without compromising on performance, simplicity and most importantly, security.
It is also possible to opt for solutions which ensure that the necessary security protection on existing and future apps. Advancement has also been made to provide the best possible experience for your end-users by providing the most thorough protection for their particular device and operating system.
To ensure enhanced protection, it is beneficial to seek out a solution that isolates sensitive and critical information, such as user data, biometrics and pin codes into a secure location away from the main operating system. This can be enhanced by opting for a solution that provides both hardware and software protection on a device to provide unrivalled security.
Add an Extra Layer of Authentication
Investing in security solutions that provide an extra level of authentication helps to ensure that the user proves to applications that they are who they say they are. This can be achieved through incorporating messaging solutions to provide one-time passwords (OTPs) and through collecting user credentials and validating users via A2P SMS or email.
If you are using an external API, then carry out checks to ensure that the code is fully secure and is only providing access to essential parts of the application to avoid any breaches of data and security. If you are not 100% sure with regards to the security of an external API, then action should be taken to ensure that any potential risk is swiftly eradicated.
Regular Application Testing
Testing the code of an application tends to be thought of as something to be performed during the development phase. This is usually limited to testing for usability and functionality and security testing tends to be ignored. However, it is something that needs to be implemented to ensure that vulnerabilities in the code are detected before the app hits the market and is downloaded.
This should include penetration testing to try and identify weaknesses within the system of the application. This should be performed in conjunction with emulators for different devices, operating systems and browsers, as this will allow you to gain insights into how your app will perform in a simulated environment.
Ideally, testing should be conducted on a regular basis once the app is live to ensure that any weaknesses are eradicated and avoiding future issues.