As technology is rising immensely, every piece of sensitive information that concerns us, from personal information to bank account credentials; almost everything is stored on our smartphones. Moreover, mobile users and their time spent on their smartphones have been on a steady rise from the past decade. Therefore mobile app development is now the most sought-after opportunity for every business wanting to thrive more!
Every business is developing its mobile application to serve its customers effectively. However, since data has become significantly valuable and helpful in recent times, cybercriminals are getting smarter too to breach smartphone security and steal confidential information.
As organizations race to digitally transform the businesses to remain competitive, strong app security should remain a top priority! Mobile app security helps businesses reduce their risks without being barriers to innovation or surrendering organizational productivity. Furthermore, good security practices help in identifying the weak points in processes to help businesses find ways to fill gaps where user data can be breached.
If you choose the wrong strategy for mobile app security, your user data can be easily accessed and misused by hackers. Sooner or later, the customers will find out, and all your efforts to make your business a success will go in vain.
Therefore, businesses need to be overly cautious when it comes to their app’s security. As a brand, you spend time and significant money to acquire customers; you surely don’t want your mobile app to be the breaching point.
So let’s delve right into the most effective ways for digital businesses to counter mobile app risks.
Strong user authentication is necessary for your mobile app to secure them from unauthorized logins. Aside from authentic and strong passwords, your app must contain Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) or Two-Factor Authentication (2TF). Adding multiple steps for logging in to the app adds an additional layer of protection, such as adding device ids, client certificates, one-time passwords, etc. Furthermore, once the customer goes inactive, enforce session timeout to maximize the app’s safety.
Ironing out tiny errors and bugs within the app’s code might seem like a trivial step, but it’s essential for the app’s security. Our devices are always surrounded by cybercriminals who wouldn’t spare any opportunity to creep inside the device and take over. Thus, businesses must implement military-grade security and thoroughly test the app’s code to detect the most minor cracks and vulnerabilities that hackers can take advantage of. It is also recommended to protect the app using run-time application protection.
Online transactions pose a significant risk of being hijacked. If your business’s mobile app contains any online payment mechanism, you must ensure that the cybercriminals don’t end up draining your customer’s bank accounts. Measures like data encryption, timed sessions, and two-factor authentications are essential but ensure that no financial credentials are stored on the server or the app, and no transactions should be made without HTTPS protection.
APIs are essential for your business’s mobile app if you’re implementing third-party applications, functionalities and features within your app. However, API’s importance also makes them a gateway for attackers to potentially gain unwanted access. Therefore, the most obvious step to ensure the app’s security is to use certified APIs and, beyond that, always encrypt the data with 256-SSL encryption to avoid breaches during transit.
Since digital ecosystems are getting more developed and diverse, cyber-attacks are also evolving extensively. If you don’t want your mobile app to cause potential damage to your business and reputation, you must rigorously test your mobile app against threats and vulnerabilities. Once detected, updates must be immediately rolled out to patch such threats. Another area to protect is the server-side or backend of the mobile app. Regularly test those APIs that grant the app’s server access. Since servers store complete user information, they have become a prime target for cybercriminals. Therefore, it’s crucial to double down on the server defence. To add an extra layer of protection, implement procedures like regular penetration testing, containerization and data encryption.
Depending on the business requirements, a mobile app receives and sends multiple types of data. Therefore, it is advisable to use HTTPS connections and certificate pinning, which is another way to validate the server certificate. Apart from performing the basic checks, including certification chain or its validity date, your mobile app must check several characteristics such as its associated public key and serial number. This method is more powerful than the traditional method, and you do not have to depend solely on the root certification authorities to verify that the presented certificate is correct.
In general, it is recommended to go through this checklist to ensure your app is highly protected.
1. Only collect the information you actually require.
2. Use higher-level certified APIs provided by the operating systems.
3. Store sensitive information such as certificates and login credentials in the Keystore/Keychain.
4. Manually secure the storage on less secure versions of operating systems.
5. Avoid third-party SDKs.
6. Never establish your own encryption mechanisms.
7. Always consult a second party to verify your security concept.
Securing a mobile app is a bit complicated but is crucial for every business. From wrapping the mobile app to defend against external threats to maintaining a clean code reducing internal vulnerabilities, there is a lot of effort that goes into securing an application. With all being discussed, it’s no wonder that many businesses find it difficult to put in the resources and time to secure their mobile apps altogether. That’s where SecIron comes in!
SecIron is a comprehensive mobile apps security solution for all Android and iOS apps. You can effectively protect your mobile app against all internal and external threats without any manual coding just by adding SecIron IronWALL security layer. Your apps will be protected against susceptible phishing attacks via messaging apps, emails, etc., SSL decryption attacks, SSL stripping, Man-in-the-Middle attacks, malicious apps, malware and all dynamic threats.
This article was first published on MEDIUM on 14th September, 2021.