Mobile App Development October 2, 2019

Beware of Cybersecurity Threats & Vulnerabilities: The 7 Best Practices to Secure Mobile Applications

Written by Analytix Editorial Team Jagruti Patel

In today’s digital age, businesses work anywhere, anytime, from mobile devices to reach new customers and grow their business. While this empowers flexibility and productivity, the security risks are real and daunting because there is a significant amount of data created and consumed on mobile devices.

Small or mid-sized businesses think they are too unimportant to catch the attention of cybercriminals. On the contrary, cybercriminals find it easier to target such businesses because they are more vulnerable. Even as you read this, hackers are trying to figure out ways to plug holes into your mobile app security.

Around 74% of global enterprises have experienced a data breach due to the mobile security issue. And 85% of mobile apps had serious security vulnerabilities in a survey of 45,000 consumer mobile apps.

Although many organizations have network security in place, it’s not enough, since the majority of all cyber attacks are happening on the application layer. There’s an inherent risk of cyber attack anytime a smartphone or tablet connects to the internet. With that in mind, we recommend focusing a major part of your mobile security efforts on these seven mobile app security practices to protect your organization from security, privacy, and compliance threats stemming from mobile app vulnerabilities.

Secure The App’s Source Code From the Start

In the case of a mobile app, the source code resides on the device which is easily accessible and open to vulnerabilities. Apart from using OWASP (Web Application Penetration Testing) methodology, you should minimize the code, add obfuscation, and protect the app code with encryption so that it remains a secret and hard to read. Moreover, ensure that the app code is portable between devices and OS, easy to update and patch. Preferably, scan the source code frequently to find vulnerabilities before the attackers do.

Protect Your Servers and Network Connections

To prevent unauthorized access, use containerization or app-wrapping to securely store your data. You should also build support for federation into your application for enhanced security (allow secured collaboration between systems, networks, and organization’s documents). Further, regularly conducting deep-dive penetration testing for vulnerability assessments of your network helps ensure better security for your mobile app.

Work on Platform-Specific Limitations and Mobile Encryption Policy

With 35%-40% of both and “Android-majority” and “iOS-majority” organizations experiencing security incidents, it is critical for enterprises to use the latest iteration of “Android for Work” and “Apple at Work” to mitigate the risks. Further, enterprises should focus on setting mobile device policies that prohibit downloading third-party apps and require employees to use strong passwords. Moreover, using the right tools, including Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), for multiple layers of security and adding encryption solutions, like 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard, can be beneficial to prevent intrusion.

Implement Stronger User Authentication

Ensuring a robust mobile app security standard in your organization requires the use of strong passwords via secure authentication methods for your apps. Enforcing two-factor authentication and multi-factor authentication can help leverage the technologies like Open ID Connect protocol so you can be confident your work data is safe.

Secure Data Storage

The more the data an app stores on the device, the more vulnerable it is. Thus, implementing application hardening, file-level encryption, and key-management prioritization helps provide multiple layers of security to prevent data leakage and intrusion.

Secure APIs

A major portion of securing mobile apps involves fortifying APIs, because APIs are the main channel for content, functionality, and data. Therefore, put API identification, authentication, and authorization in place for a strong API-security strategy.

Test Your Code Frequently

Change is constant and each release introduces potential risks. Perform mobile app vetting to test, validate, and identify risky mobile apps, thus preventing risk and data loss from such apps. Use penetration testing, network security testing, and data security testing to detect vulnerabilities in the code so you can correct before they become problematic.

Security plays a vital role in the development of a mobile app, so it’s crucial to use best practices in protecting your mobile app against threats and vulnerabilities. From the moment that apps are deployed, they are vulnerable to attacks. Therefore, enterprises cannot remain complacent when it comes to mobile app security threats.

Next Steps

Analytix IT helps enterprises achieve a solid mobile app security strategy to stay ahead of the evolving cybersecurity threat landscape.

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