With more than 6.65[i] Billion people using mobile apps, these applications hold diverse sets of users’ personal data based on their functionality and specifications. The data sets include personal information, user-generated content, location data, usage & interaction data, payment & financial data, and a lot more.
And if this information is shared over the web or stored in the application using methods that are not secure, it can lead to several issues such as:
- Data breaches
- Unauthorized access
- Privacy violations
- Data manipulation
- Legal and compliance risks
- Revenue loss
- Damage to business operations, etc.
That said, reports state that one in four[ii] mobile applications contain at least one high-security flaw. Not just this, business apps are three times more likely to leak log-in credentials – personal and corporate data – than the average applications.
This is where the need for mobile app security comes into play.
What is Mobile App Security
Mobile app security is the practice of safeguarding mobile applications from a range of vulnerabilities such as inadequate authentication mechanisms, weak encryption protocols, unsecure data storage practices, and poor session management.
Implementing robust mobile app security measures enables you to protect user data, ensure privacy, maintain regulatory compliance, enhance CX, and win users’ trust in your app. By prioritizing app security, you can also mitigate financial losses, legal liabilities, and reputational damage.
But how do you secure your mobile app data?
Let’s explore the key attributes to consider for implementing mobile data security with 6 actionable practices.
Key Attributes for Improving Mobile App Security
Here are the two key attributes of mobile data security with steps to enable them for your business.
1. Secure transmission of data from mobile to the server. To enable this, you can:
- Use HTTPS instead of HTTP for communication between the device and server.
- Implement WSS (WebSocket Secure) instead of WS for secure WebSocket connections.
- Encrypt sensitive tokens and critical data using custom encryption keys.
- Store third-party keys on the server rather than on the client device.
2. Protect data being stored within the mobile applications. To enable this, you can:
- Create a vault service to store sensitive data securely.
- Minimize the amount of critical data stored on the device.
- Use encrypted data storage methods for sensitive information.
- Employ an identity vault to enhance app access security by utilizing biometric authentication.
6 Mobile App Security Practices to Enhance Your UX and Business Resilience
1. Threat Modeling and Risk Assessment: Threat modeling involves analyzing your app’s architecture, functionalities, and potential threats to identify vulnerabilities and prioritize security measures. Whereas, risk assessment evaluates the likelihood and potential impact of identified threats to determine their risk level.
By conducting thorough threat modeling and risk assessments, you can proactively address security weaknesses, implement appropriate security controls, and prioritize resources effectively. This practice protects sensitive data of your mobile app, preventing breaches, and ensuring a more secure user experience.
2. Secure Development Lifecycle (SDLC): SDLC practices in mobile app security incorporate security measures throughout your app’s development process. It includes threat modeling, secure design, secure coding, testing and code review, app hardening, secure deployment, ongoing maintenance, and user education.
By following SDLC practices, you can enhance your app’s security, reduce the risk of breaches/data leaks, and ensure security maintenance. Additionally, it provides you with a proactive approach to mobile app security, protecting your user data and preventing unauthorized access.
3. Regular Security Updates and Patching: Keeping your mobile app up to date by regularly releasing security updates and patches is a critical part of mobile app strategy. Leveraging this practice, you can:
- Keep third-party libraries up to date and implement a robust patch management process.
- Consider bug bounty programs to engage external security researchers.
- Communicate the importance of updates to users and provide release notes highlighting security fixes.
- Continuously monitor app security, employ secure development practices, and have an incident response plan for zero-day vulnerabilities.
4. Mobile Application Security Testing: It is paramount to identify and fix security weaknesses before your mobile app gets deployed. Here, mobile application security testing helps identify vulnerabilities and ensure the security posture of mobile apps. This practice includes techniques such as static and dynamic analysis, penetration testing, and code review.
While implementing them, analyze your app’s code, architecture, and APIs for weaknesses, including authentication and authorization flaws, data leakage risks, and insecure data storage. Additionally, test the common mobile-specific vulnerabilities like jailbreaking (iOS) or rooting (Android). However, ensure your testing covers different platforms/versions, and includes both the client and server sides.
5. Secure Backend Infrastructure: This practice in mobile app security involves robust security measures to protect the backend systems of your mobile app. These include servers, databases, APIs, and other components that handle user data and app functionality. Key aspects of secure backend infrastructure practice include:
- Enforcing strong access controls.
- Implementing encryption for data transmission and storage.
- Monitoring and logging system activities.
- Conducting security audits and vulnerability assessments.
- Ensuring secure communication between the mobile app and backend systems.
6. User Education and Awareness: This practice of mobile app security empowers users with the knowledge and understanding necessary to protect themselves and their data. It enables you to provide clear and concise information about your app’s security features, privacy policies, and data handling practices. With this practice, you can:
- Educate your users on creating strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and being cautious of phishing attempts.
- Communicate security updates and the benefits of keeping the app updated, regularly.
- Promote awareness of common threats like fake apps, social engineering, and insecure Wi-Fi networks.
Mobile app security should be a proactive measure, not an afterthought. By 2027, the revenue from mobile apps is forecasted to reach USD 7.32[iii] Million globally. Ergo, to become a part of these stats, it’s essential for businesses to invest in mobile app security. By implementing the given security practices and attributes, you can reshape your mobile application to foster trust, ensure privacy, and protect user’s data.
Deliver a Positive UX and Enhance Brand Reputation With Mobile App Security. Let’s Talk!
Popular Blog Posts