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How to Secure Mobile Apps – A Mobile App Security Checklist 2023

How to Secure Mobile Apps – A Mobile App Security Checklist 2023

Posted in Mobile App Marketing on September 16, 2022

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The current era has become more tech-savvy, with each individual carrying a smartphone. A range of smartphones has been launched by Samsung, Apple, etc., to cater to the users' needs. These smartphones are becoming more dominant and more popular than laptops and computers.

Radicati Mobile Stats Report 2021-2025 indicates that the number of mobile users is expected to surpass 7.1 billion in 2021 and grow to approximately 7.5 billion by 2025.

Smartphone usage is tremendous, which has motivated companies to use this platform to publicize their products and services. With the help of mobile app developers, they are ready to launch their mobile applications to portray their products to their targeted audience.

Apart from focusing on vital factors like app accessibility, and user convenience, the company needs to work on the security factor of the app too.

An unsecured app can be risky since customer-sensitive data is at stake, which can ruin your company's reputation and affect user trust.

This blog specifically highlights the mobile app threats and the importance of mobile app security. It also briefs the solutions that need to be implemented for app security to help challenge these threats.

What is Mobile Application Security?

The surge in mobile app usage has attracted hackers who plan varied threats on these mobile apps to gain user data.

Mobile Application Security is a security solution specifically meant for mobile applications present on mobiles/smartphones. The main motto of this security solution is to prevent the applications from varied threats (malware, client-side injections, cryptojacking, insecure coding, etc.) and save them from being compromised by attackers.

The mobile app security solutions study your app structures, their functioning, app penetrations, and other security vulnerabilities, which can help hackers to carry out successful attacks. These securities function in patching up loose end points and ensuring strong solutions for preventing intruder penetrations, thus giving their users a frictionless, secure, and memorable user experience.

Stats on Mobile App Revenue & Growth:

App Revenue Data (2022) indicates that:

  • The largest markets of Google Play Store are India, South America, India, etc.
  • Since Apple operates in China, varied third-party apps are used in China, which generate $8 billion in annual revenue approximately.
  • Android and iOS app revenue increased by 19% and reached $133 billion revenue in 2021. iOS app revenue was 63% of total app revenue in 2021.
  • In 2021, Games generated 67% of total app revenue.
  • Apart from games, iOS generated 75% of the $43.4 billion revenue in 2021.

Grand View Research indicates that the global mobile application market size added $187.58 billion in 2021. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4% from 2022 to 2030.

Why is Mobile Application Security Important?

The above stats are enough to justify mobile apps' vitality and security. Lack of security on these applications can cause your client's sensitive data to be compromised and can place your company image and brand reputation at risk.

The Covid-19 pandemic has already placed the world on a digital platform, thus enhancing the need for digital security.

Since digital properties like identity cards, other digital documents, and sensitive data like bank information, card details, etc., are also stored on mobiles, it is important to ensure that your mobile business app is secured with all the necessary security solutions. This can help in preventing cyber-attacks and data breaches, thus keeping your company's information safe.

The Common Mobile App Security Threats:

Ever since mobile apps became popular, they have become the easiest penetration point for cyber-attacks and data breaches. Businesses are slowly moving into a digital space; hence, digital security is essential to keep hackers at bay. Be it computers or mobiles, networks, or other devices, it is essential to secure them with digital security solutions to prevent security threats.

Let us check out some basic mobile app security threats that can damage your business.

1. Malware:

Malware is a common cyber threat faced by mobile applications. This cyber threat comes in software and is specifically designed to intrude, damage, and destroy systems after stealing sensitive stuff stored in them.

Research by Kaspersky indicates 5,16,617 malicious packages.

Tech-savvy hackers are conducting sophisticated malware attacks, and if your mobile apps are not secured, they may cause huge damage.

2. Ransomware:

After malware comes ransomware, a type of malware wherein the hacker compromises the app's security by applying an encryption technique to gain complete access to the application and its data.

Since the app owner can't access the app and its data, the hackers demand a ransom to decrypt the same to make it accessible.

A study by Verizon indicates that ransomware consists of 10% of the overall breaches.

This is one of the most expensive cyber threats.

3. Cryptojacking:

Ever since cryptocurrencies became popular, cryptojacking threats have started increasing. In this cyber threat, the attacker compromises your device and uses it for mining cryptocurrency.

In short, this unauthorized use of your device by the hacker to mine crypto coins is cryptojacking.

Research indicates that Cryptojacking has increased by 86% in 2022 as compared to 2021.

Some of the symptoms of cryptojacking include excessive battery drain and other system disruptions and functions.

4. Insecure Coding:

As the name specifies, improper coding is unsecured and can easily make way for hackers to penetrate your mobile apps successfully.

5. Weak Server-Side Controls:

Generally, mobile apps function on the client-server frame. Here varied components function in their respective defined roles.

Example: The server hosts and delivers varied client services, whereas the application stores (Google Play Store) perform the task of delivering the mobile apps to multiple users.

Positive Technologies indicate that high-risk vulnerabilities were found in 38% of iOS mobile apps and 43% of Android apps.

Vulnerabilities in app development, like flaws in app configurations, use of improper/incorrect codes, and inappropriate use of security implementations, can expose your app to hackers.

6. Absence of SSL/TLS:

The absence of SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security) can weaken your app and expose your app data.

The reason is that when app data is exchanged between the browser and its, it's in a plain and readable format that hackers can easily misuse. SSL/TLS is a digital security certificate that encrypts your app data and converts it into a cipher and non-readable format.

When apps and their data are not secured with SSL/TLS certificates, they are prone to identity theft, phishing, MIM (man-in-the-middle) attacks, privacy violations, etc.

Mobile App Security Checklist:

Mobile app security is vital to prevent the above-stated cyber threats. Let us discuss some of the best security practices to secure mobile apps. Let us check Mobile App Security Checklist out.

1. Code Signing Certificates:

It is necessary to secure your app. This digital certificate secures your app codes and other scripts from unauthorized access.

The best part of this certificate is that users are aware of the app's authenticity and developer. They are also aware in case of any tampering done with the code. You do not need to spend too much money while getting Code Signing cert. As there are much lowest or cheapest code signing certificate available from different resellers. All these resellers offer huge discount on purchase of a code signing certificate.

In short, this certificate ensures code integrity and displays the app's legitimacy to its users.

2. Secure Source Codes:

Client-side mobile apps are prone to malware easily since code/design security vulnerabilities in the app are easily exposed.

To prevent such disasters, app developers should encrypt source codes and include tools for detecting and fixing vulnerabilities. The ideal solution for app security is to incorporate code obfuscation to prevent reverse engineering attacks. This secures your source code by making it non-understandable to hackers.

3. Implement Strong Authentications:

How mobile app authentication works?

Many users are ignorant about this question. The answer is that they work the best when dual security is enforced, i.e., using a complex password for your app is not enough to secure it from attackers; implementation of 2FA (two-factor authentication) is also necessary.

2FA includes biometric authentication, tokens, PIN, etc., apart from passwords, which need to be punched before gaining access to the app. Limit password attempts for better app security.

4. Keep your App Updated:

Your app software should be updated regularly to ensure that the security patches are implemented on a timely basis. This strengthens the app's security since all the vulnerabilities are addressed, and security loopholes are fixed. This latest app version can prevent all the ongoing threats.

5. Ensure File & Database Security:

Apart from securing the source code, securing app data is also important. Data can be in the form of login credentials, user-sensitive information, social security number, address, etc., which too needs security from intruders.

Apply encryption security to secure your app files and data from unwanted intruders.

6. Use Secure Communications:

Data snooping and MIM attacks are some basic mobile app attacks that can be prevented by using secure communication tunnels like VPN (Virtual Private Network) or SSL encryption security.

7. Data Portability:

Data portability is an additional app security solution wherein users can access their desired app from varied platforms. This helps app developers to maintain app security by using secured platforms.

Example: OAuth

8. Data Backup & Restore System:

Hackers find ways to penetrate apps and misuse app data even after implementing varied securities. App data backup and restore systems should be in place in such situations.

It's advisable to ensure an offsite data storage system (data is stored on a remote server) that will aid you in such unwanted situations.

Other Security Solutions:

  • Secure API with data access authorizations
  • Implement security triggers for getting alerts in case of tampering

Mobile Application Security Testing:

Mobile app security testing helps in identifying vulnerabilities that can influence the app. Some best ways to test mobile app security are:

  • Penetration Testing: To test the functions of the app as well as its security strength. App developers intentionally threaten the apps to test their security.
  • Automated Mobile Application Testing: To detect the app's privacy and code issues. Install automated tools to analyse app behaviour and keep a check on source codes to ensure app security.
  • Alternatives for Mobile Security Testing: To utilize other alternatives like Crowdsourced Security. Third parties are hired to test the app for vulnerabilities in this security method.

Wrapping Up:

The skyrocketing usage of smartphones has benefitted both app developers and hackers. They have given a great platform for app developers to develop apps and invited hackers to ruin these apps and misuse their data.

Always prioritize mobile app security if you plan to develop an app. Ensure to follow the above-stated mobile app security checklist to keep your app and data safe.