Mobile application security is one of the main concerns since it can threaten the data that resides within them. If you fail to apply proper security controls during the design of an application, hackers may easily get into your system. With modern technology, mobile application vulnerabilities have also increased due to the prevalence of mobile applications today.
Hackers are always on the lookout for mobile applications to obtain customer information and details and use them maliciously. Hence, developers should be extra careful when building iOS and Android applications. Hackers might crack an app to discover more about its special features and other information. Others may be trying to compromise backend systems. The risks are unlimited.
But the question is whether it is possible to protect yourself from such cyber threats on mobile devices.
Why Application Security Is Important?
A few minor security breaches can have a negative effect on your device and personal data even though each of these breaches does not have a great effect on the security of mobile apps individually. Mobile app security is important for your business since your application directly impacts your reputation. As a result of selecting the wrong mobile security strategy, cyber scammers can steal and misuse your customer data.
You and your company will lose a great deal of trust with your clients once they discover what exactly happened. The most heartbreaking stories are the ones with compromised financial transactions. And ultimately your company will suffer the consequences. Something to consider here is that it’s not just small companies that have these concerns. Major market players also face such problems.
Mobile App Security Risks
Now that we have established mobile apps are constantly exposed to huge risks of intrusion, let’s dive deeper into these specific threats. Not only that, but we’ll also discuss some of the best ways to handle these risks.
1- Inefficient Input Validation
The goal of input validation is to ensure that input data is properly formatted, which prevents malware from infecting the mobile app or causing it to malfunction.
Inadequate input validation in mobile apps can lead to serious consequences. If the mobile application fails to validate input properly, attackers may be able to use malicious data inputs to gain access to sensitive information in the app or breach database backends.
It would be ideal if validation could take place instantly after an external system receives the data. Data from third-party vendors, partners, regulators, and suppliers might be compromised to provide malformed information. Despite the fact that input validation is not enough to prevent mobile app security risks, it is a significant method of preventing malicious data from entering the app.
2- Poor Authorization Controls
The lack of authentication schemes or a poorly set up backend server can make it vulnerable to attacks.
A mobile app’s authentication requirements can be different from those of traditional web applications, as users aren’t always required to be online in mobile apps. It may, however, require offline authentication due to its uptime requirements. While implementing authentication schemes, developers should consider the security risks associated with this method of offline authentication.
It is also critical to note that poor authorization can adversely affect the security of a mobile app when high privileges are breached to attack a user through their phone. Compromised backend service can be corrupted, modified, or completely compromised if an attacker is able to perform high-privilege actions, such as those of administrators.
3- Poor Encryption
Data is encrypted so hackers are unable to unlock it with a secret decryption key. They find it much more difficult to gain access to data if devices and data are not encrypted properly. In other words, poor encryption can lead to data loss and the repercussions may follow from that loss of information. If you don’t handle keys properly, even the best encryption algorithms can fail. It is common for developers to use strong encryption algorithms, but sometimes failure is unavoidable. A common example is storing keys in unsecured databases or files that are easily accessible to other users.
In most cases, attackers aren’t interested in breaking the encryption algorithm; they’re interested in getting the keys. It is unfortunately very common to have insecure key management which facilitates the process of intrusion. Weak encryption algorithms i.e. RC2, MD5, MD4, or SHA1 can also make things easier for hackers.
Creating and using custom encryption algorithms or protocols is another way mobile developers mishandle encryption and compromise application security. There are many modern encryption algorithms available in the security community that are more secure than these algorithms.
4- Code Security Issues
Mobile apps are often plagued by security issues. One might wonder what are the cloud application security issues. The answer to that may vary depending on the type of app and the security protocols. While manual code reviews may take a considerable amount of time to detect, you can perform automated fuzzing or static analysis with third-party tools. The team can detect security issues using the tools, including injection issues, insecure data storage, weak encryption, and other problems.
To detect security threats where automation fails, manual review is still required. Automated tools, however, are not sufficient on their own. In order to prevent poor code quality issues, you must maintain consistent secure coding practices that do not lead to vulnerable code. You should validate that the incoming buffer data does not exceed the target buffer length. In addition, you should automate the detection of memory leaks and buffer overflows through the use of third-party static analysis tools.
5- Infected Software
By the end of 2018, there were almost 30 million malware infections worldwide. It is important to keep in mind that even a new device may pose a threat. In addition, remember that a cyberthief doesn’t necessarily need physical access to the device to steal user data or commit other malicious acts.
Attacks on client applications are growing as a result of a growing number of malware infections. Hence, from the very beginning, you must take steps to protect your mobile phone against malware.
How To Ensure Application Security?
- You can improve the protection of your mobile applications by transferring some program logic and algorithms to a server. It would be nearly impossible to crack a secure server if it is configured correctly and has reliable security.
- Let your app code be concise and strong, based on the most modern algorithms. Furthermore, rigorously test it, not only once, but infrequently. You should also keep in mind that even the smallest bug or error can result in an app being cracked.
- There should be a strict limit on the number of input attempts before logging out or blocking the application if a failure occurs.
- You should always store and process sensitive user data in encrypted form. Additionally, it would be wise to seek advice from mobile app security experts to ensure that your encryption algorithms are quite efficient.
- Multi-factor authentication provides reliable protection for user accounting data. It consists of multiple steps and several levels of security. Taking such precautions is especially critical for financial and law enforcement organizations.
- Trusting open-source tools and services implicitly is not a smart idea. Exceptions include time-tested solutions that large companies have used successfully for a long time.
- Implement a hack detection system as the algorithms allow you to configure the notification system in case of attempts to crack the code. Furthermore, you can prevent illegal changes from working by stopping the app code.
- Lastly, please keep in mind that there is no such thing as creating an application and letting it be as it is. Cyberattacks are becoming more common every year, and you must stay on top of them. You have no other choice than to continue updating, supported by testing.
Final Thoughts On Application Security
It might be impossible to be aware of all the security risks that exist. However, by understanding why Application Security is important and knowing the most common risks connected with mobile app security, you can secure your app against the biggest threats. Lastly, a reliable CDN that comes with all the security features can be of great help.