A whopping 51 percent of the online time spent by US users online is on mobile devices, and the lion’s share of this time belongs to mobile apps. People use mobile apps for everything from necessary daily activities and control gadgets around shopping to carry out business transactions.
But thanks to widespread integration with different device APIs and handling highly sensitive information, mobile apps are always exposed to different security risks and data security breaches of all types. Any app is vulnerable to multiple security threats.
Here we are going to explain the key ways to protect your mobile app from all kinds of security threats and vulnerabilities.
Know The Security Vulnerabilities You Are Exposed To
First of all, you need to have a clear idea about the security vulnerabilities an app is exposed to. It is important to carry out penetration tests and vulnerability scans. While the first is carried out to detect the potential weaknesses like loopholes in security settings, unencrypted passwords, or other flaws, the latter is to detect any security threat that erupted for the app.
White Box Testing
White box testing, which is also referred to as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), aims to evaluate and test app security from the attacker’s viewpoint. This requires getting as much information as possible on the particular mobile app and corresponding network when carrying out the test. In this procedure, the security experts will carry out attacks based on these insights to understand how the attackers capitalize on security loopholes.
Black Box Testing
On the other hand, black-box testing carries out simulated attacks from the perspective of an uninformed attacker. Here security experts implement multiple threats to make a detailed analysis of a mobile app’s security strengths and weaknesses. This procedure simulates a more realistic kind of security attack. But compared to white box testing, the cybersecurity experts are less capable of testing all the vulnerabilities as they remain less informed.
Implementing Server-Side Authentication
In an ideal scenario, a multi-factor authentication process is used on the server-side. If you store sensitive data on the client-side, protecting it with multi-factor strong authentication is critical.
In case you prefer persistent authentication or the “remember me” feature to help users stay logged in, make sure the password is not stored locally in the mobile device, and when the app is accessible on different devices, different tokens are used.
Use Encryption-Based Algorithms And Key Management
You need to avoid storing sensitive data on a mobile device to prevent risk with encryption. Make sure hard-coded passwords available in plain text cannot be accessed by the attacker to gain unsolicited server access.
Along with a powerful algorithm allowing encryption of passwords, a sophisticated key management strategy is equally required. Ensure the keys cannot be intercepted by the attackers when authentication responses pass to the users from the server.
Prevent Saving Passwords Locally
Many mobile apps allow users to save passwords locally just for the sake of freedom from providing login credentials repeatedly. In case the device is subjected to theft, all these passwords can be utilized for unsolicited access to gain personal information. On the other hand, in case the password is stored without encryption, they are still exposed to unsolicited access and harvesting from the attackers. Make sure the passwords are saved on the app server to prevent such security risks.
Forced Session Logout
One of the biggest security risks emerges when the users forget to log out as and when they finish using a website or app. In the case of apps with sensitive information such as banking and financial apps, this is doubly dangerous. This is why forced session logout is practiced by most banking and financial apps.
Avoiding The Use Of Personal Devices At The Workplace
For the sake of cost-saving on IT hardware, many companies prefer employees to use their laptops or tablets for development and design tasks. This can often put the entire security of apps at risk. Malware and Trojans are common threats that travel between devices just in this manner. It is advisable to prevent relying on devices of employees for such tasks.
Choose Third-Party Libraries Diligently
Development companies prefer third-party libraries as they can significantly reduce the coding time and efforts. But the libraries chosen randomly and without keeping the security concerns in mind can seriously be a risky proposition as well. Ideally, developers should restrict the use of such libraries to a minimum and have a stringent policy for choosing the right libraries to optimize app security.
Minimize the Privileges of Users
Enhanced user privileges always create increased security concerns. In case a user with a great many privileges face hacking, tremendous damage can be caused to the app at a quick pace. In the same way, apps asking for special device privileges can also be utilized by attackers. So, it is advisable to reduce privileges to a minimum.
When it comes to mobile app security, too many apps share the same kind of vulnerabilities and security risks. Apps with security loopholes put the entire ecosystem of apps at risk. But if you follow the above-mentioned measures and follow these tips, most of these security risks can be avoided.
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