Why Mobile App Security Should Be a Top Priority for Businesses (Part 1)

Why Mobile App Security Should Be a Top Priority for Businesses (Part 1)

Have you heard of the incident where spyware was lurking within Google Play apps with a staggering 420 million downloads? 'SpinOk',  the malicious module cleverly posed as a benign marketing SDK. Once infiltrated into victims' devices, it collected sensitive file information, forwarded files to the attackers, and even stole clipboard content. It was identified in over 100 Android applications!

One thing’s for sure. Cybercriminals are constantly on the prowl, seeking vulnerabilities in mobile apps to exploit. It’s scary and even worrying to know that cybercriminals can steal sensitive information stored on mobile devices, such as credit card details, passwords, and personal data, in the blink of an eye! Taking proactive steps to protect users' data and maintain their trust is a must for any business. Here’s why mobile app security should be a top priority for businesses and the steps you need to safeguard against these attacks! 

 

The Importance of Mobile App Security

 

Mobile app security

 

Mobile app security importance? Well, almost 83% of apps have at least one security flaw. 

Also, business apps are three times more likely to leak login credentials, both personal and vital corporate data, compared to the average app. 

Given how frequently apps need to access user data, top-notch security for your platform should be at the top of your mind. Cybercriminals increasingly target mobile apps for data breaches through mobile apps, while the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. 

Data leaks resulting from weak security, such as unsecured Wi-Fi networks or vulnerabilities in cryptography, can make your app an attractive target for malicious actors.

With the immense amount of sensitive information stored on mobile devices, such as credit card details, passwords, and personal data, any security breaches can have devastating consequences. 

Cybercriminals are constantly on the prowl, seeking vulnerabilities in mobile apps to exploit. Therefore, it is crucial for businesses to take proactive steps to protect their users' data and maintain their trust.

Investing in robust security measures and regularly updating mobile apps can help businesses stay one step ahead of cyber threats.

 

Most Common Potential Threats to Mobile Apps

One of the first steps businesses need to take is to understand the common mobile app security threats they may face. After all, it can help implement effective security strategies.

 

Insecure data storage

 

insecure data storage

 

One common risk is insecure data storage. 

While 85% of apps break at least one of the top 10 security rules, here's the kicker- around 50% of these apps have insecure data storage, while nearly the same number of apps utilize insecure communication practices.

Mobile apps often store sensitive user data locally, such as login credentials, credit card information, and personal details. If this mobile app data is not properly protected, it can be easily accessed by hackers.

 

Inadequate authentication and authorization

 

authentication and authorization

 

Another among mobile app security issues is inadequate authentication and authorization. Weak or flawed authentication processes can allow unauthorized users to gain access to the app and potentially compromise user data. Similarly, insufficient authorization controls can lead to unauthorized access to sensitive functionalities within the app.

 

Data Breaches

 

Data breaches

 

Mobile data breaches can wreak havoc by exposing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and financial data. The fallout of a data breach can be devastating, leading to legal liabilities, financial losses, and a tarnished reputation.

Based on Ponemon Institute statistics, a staggering 77% of companies lack adequate preparation to defend against cyberattacks or data breaches.
 

Insecure communication channels

 

Insecure communication channels

 

Mobile app security risks also include insecure communication channels. If data transmitted between the app and servers is not properly encrypted, it can be intercepted by attackers. This is particularly critical for apps that handle financial transactions or contain sensitive personal information.

In the IT and Communications sector, the leading causes of insurance claims were malicious data breaches (24%) and accidental data breaches (18%).

 

Malware Attacks

 

malware attacks

 

Malicious software program, or malware, poses a severe threat to mobile app security. From spyware that tracks your every move to ransomware that locks you out of your own device, malware can inflict irreversible damage.

In contrast to 2019, malware attacks spiked by 358%, and ransomware attacks soared by a staggering 435%.

Besides this, take a look at some alarming facts:

  • According to an IBM study, ransomware attacks made up 11% of breaches, marking a 7.8% increase from 2021. 
  • The average cost of a ransomware attack dropped slightly from $4.62 million in 2021 to $4.54 million in 2022. 
  • Ransomware played a role in 27% of malware breaches, and in 2021, a business was hit by a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.

 

Lack of Encryption

 

encryption

 

At times, there are problems with encryption. Without robust encryption, data transmission becomes vulnerable to interception and manipulation. Lack of encryption can give unauthorized access to hackers, leading to compromised user data.

 

The Impact of a Security Breach on Businesses

 

Security breach

 

Business mobile app security cannot be neglected. After all, the consequences of a mobile app data breaches can be severe. Not only can it result in financial losses and legal liabilities, but it can also damage a company's reputation and erode customer trust.

  • Legal action: When users' data is compromised, businesses may face legal action and regulatory fines. 
  • High costs: Moreover, the cost of investigating the breach, notifying affected users, and implementing security measures to prevent future incidents can be substantial.
  • Reputational damage: Perhaps even more damaging is the reputational damage that occurs when customers lose trust in a business's ability to protect their data. 
  • Undesirable publicity: Negative publicity and a loss of customers can have long-lasting effects on a company's bottom line.

 

Best Practices for Mobile App Security

To effectively secure mobile apps, businesses need to adopt the right mobile app development services from professioanls who offer top-notch mobile app security measures. The following best practices cover various aspects of app development and maintenance.

 

Secure coding

 

secure coding

 

One essential practice is secure coding for mobile app. By following secure coding examples and practices, developers can minimize vulnerabilities in the app's codebase. This includes:

  • Using proper input validation
  • Avoiding hardcoded secrets
  • Implementing secure data storage techniques.

 

Regular security audits

 

security audits

 

Regular mobile app security audits and vulnerability assessments are also crucial. By periodically reviewing the app's security controls and conducting penetration tests, businesses can identify and address potential weaknesses before they are exploited by attackers.

 

Robust authentication 

 

authentication

 

Implementing robust authentication and authorization mechanisms is another key practice. Strong customer authentication, such as multi factor authentication (MFA) or biometric authentication, can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to the app. 

Additionally, implementing role-based access controls can ensure that users only have access to the functionalities they are authorized to use.

 

Encryption is the Key

 

encryption

 

Ensure end-to-end encryption for data transmission and storage, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information.

 

Secure Code Practices

 

secure code practices

 

Adopt secure coding for mobile app by blending practices that build a strong foundation for your app's security, eliminating common loopholes.

 

Thorough Testing

 

Testing

 

Conduct rigorous security testing, including penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, to identify and address weaknesses.

 

Educate Users

 

educating users

 

Educate users about best practices for app security, such as avoiding suspicious links and keeping their devices updated.

 

So there you have it! For any further updates or information regarding mobile app development, get in touch with our native app development experts today!

Abesh Shirodkar
Abesh Shirodkar
Assistant Manager (Technical)
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