Defenders on Demand: Best Practices for Cybersecurity of Your Business Mobile App
Mobile app data security should be a priority for business owners to protect corporate secrets and clients’ data. Learn how to avoid difficulties caused by cyberattacks and illegal information theft.
Intro. Importance of Mobile App Security for Businesses
More than 40% of global corporations neglect cybersecurity measures for their mobile applications. This situation causes constant issues associated with usage problems, data theft, and business regression. The development of high technologies and the trend of mobility have led to the fact that a modern mobile device is often used as an office space, an entertainment center, and a tool for consuming Internet content.
The careful attention to mobile app security provides the users of the software with an opportunity to benefit from all its functions. At the same time, companies can exploit digital products as an integral part of business processes to achieve desired goals. The high concentration of activities associated with mobile devices and applications leads to the fact that the abstract cost of information outweighs the price of the device itself. Therefore, protecting a mobile device from cyber threats is critically important. Unfortunately, certain companies realize the significance of these points only after the actual cyberattacks.
Ensuring the security of mobile applications begins from the start of their development. The professionals can take care of their protection during the initiation phase of the projects. In this case, the digital products will perform all necessary functions by resisting cyber threats.
What methods are there for the cybersecurity of a mobile app?
The popularity of mobile applications is growing every year. This fact attracts hackers. They are launching more and more attacks on mobile programs using their vulnerabilities. When it comes to application security, there are two main ways that companies can take:
Introduction of information security tools into the development process. The approach involves embedding security into all stages of the software development life cycle, starting with architectural decisions made at the earliest stages and ending with building an effective process of interaction between the development and security teams. In this case, the developer’s view of security is reflected.
Increasing the safety level of launched digital products. This method conveys the perception of information security from the security specialist’s point of view. As part of its implementation, the first step is to determine the current level of security of mobile applications using testing tools.
Mobile application protection requires a complex approach to solve the current and possible problems. This process implies the skillful combination of the programmatic, operational, and management interventions for the introduction of the continuous operation of the application.
What should you think about cybersecurity for a mobile app before developing it?
Mobile application development has become a key factor in the success of any business. As mobile apps become increasingly popular among users, it is significant for developers to make app security as important as their features.
The business owners should think about the following aspects of mobile app security before the development of software:
Data safety. In mobile applications, security is of utmost importance as the data in the application may be at risk if protection measures are not taken properly during the development of the application. In addition, the increased use of mobile applications has led to the growth in vulnerabilities. Nowadays, hackers seek to obtain users’ personal information. Therefore, developers should be more careful when creating applications for Android and iOS platforms.
Source code security. Insecure source code is often how hackers “infect” a mobile application. Therefore, it is important to implement mobile application security best practices when implementing code. Using code scanning strategies and models can help develop a robust application.
Proper data encryption. With encryption, developers can transform transmitted data into a form that no one else can read without decryption. This approach can effectively save data from negative use. Even if the data is leaked, hackers cannot decrypt it. Business owners should invest in a quality encryption service if they want apps to be protected.
Cybersecurity plays a vital role in mobile app development. Using best practices to protect mobile apps from malware and viruses is essential. Whether a mobile app is for a small business or a large brand, cybersecurity is critical to keeping all users and their personal information safe.
What types of mobile apps should have good cybersecurity?
Business owners should make every effort to take care of mobile app security. These actions represent a basis for properly functioning software, which is highly important for business. The following types of mobile apps should have excellent cybersecurity:
E-commerce apps. In this case, the clients should feel the reliability of software for making purchases and paying with bank cards to buy goods and services. The advanced security level turns the apps into the main channel of sales.
Utility apps. The installation of such software requires a high level of protection for correct functioning on clients’ devices. The customers can receive notifications from the company. This functionality allows the business owners to promote marketing strategies, making them as successful as possible.
Lifestyle apps. This kind of digital product requires collecting data about clients to provide them with certain functionality. In this case, the companies can use the clients’ information to create complex CRM systems. However, such software needs high security to keep personal data private.
Companies can consider the details of the mobile application security checklist to achieve the desired results in this field. Step-by-step instructions and support from a professional development team represent a foundation for digital products’ continuous and successful operation.
How can you improve the security of an already-launched app?
Mobile application protection requires the constant introduction of innovations. This process provides an opportunity to maintain the high potential of the application. In this case, the developers use the following testing methods to improve the security of the launched software:
Static testing practices. SAST, OSA, SCA, and BCA are tools that work using the “white box” method. They analyze the source code. If it is unavailable, they check the decompiled or bytecode.
Dynamic Analysis Scanners (DAST). They use the “black box” method. The scanners test ready-made applications while running. It imitates the work of attackers or malware by revealing vulnerabilities.
Tools for checking the backend of mobile applications (API ST). As part of testing, messages are exchanged between the front end (user interface) and the back end (software and hardware, the “filling” of the application). API ST makes extensive use of inappropriate commands and invalid data.
Interactive Testing Practice (IAST). Such tools combine SAST and DAST technologies. IAST analyzes code while the mobile app is running. It searches for real-time security issues by examining data flows, HTTP requests and responses, configurations, frameworks, libraries, and other components.
By releasing unsecured mobile applications, companies expose themselves to significant risks. It will not be difficult for hackers to attack unsafe products to gain access to user accounts, steal confidential data, and use it in other incidents. The improvement of launched applications is a mandatory measure.
Technical features of implementing cybersecurity for mobile apps
The developers pay special attention to the technical features of mobile app security. They represent the main basis for protecting the digital tools from attacks by intruders. In this case, the specialists should consider crucial app security principles.
The technical features of implementing cybersecurity for mobile apps require the following:
- Store information in device memory (RAM).
- Use EncryptedSharedPreferences, Encrypted DataStore for Android and Keychain, Encrypted RealmSwift, and SQLCipher for IOS.
- Implement SSL-Pinning in the application.
- Introduce password hashing or full request hashing by creating a request signing token.
- Follow NIST guidelines for the algorithms used.
- Return the minimum required amount of information in server responses.
- Hide the location of any sensitive pages on the server that may be accessible via the Internet.
- Export Package Manager classes for application signature authentication
Mobile application development should be consistent with the corporate policies of the organization’s IT administrators. Likewise, it must comply with the app stores it will be listed, including Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Secure frameworks can reduce the attack surface of different applications.
What business benefits does mobile app cybersecurity provide?
Common issues related to mobile app security include improper session handling, broken cryptography, unintentional data leakage, and poor authorization. Among these problems, the most common one implies data leakage due to storing application data in insecure places. The main reason is storing data in a location other applications can access. Speaking of poor session handling, the problem is commonly seen in e-commerce applications. Developers of such applications allow long sessions to reduce delays associated with the purchasing process.
The main business benefits of the high standards of mobile app data security include the following points:
High-quality communication channels. Consumers can completely replace a corporate website with a mobile application. The absence of problems in its functioning allows the company to be in touch with the target audience all the time. Users will feel safe leaving their data for company use.
Increased sales. A properly functioning digital product is a guarantee for instant sales. Modern payment systems are closely connected with washing gadgets, allowing companies to make payments through a smartphone in one click. This approach can become an additional tool for stimulating impulse purchases by customers.
Part of a successful marketing strategy. Glitch-free mobile notifications can serve as a tool for customer retention. The application can also provide consumers with additional discounts and advantageous offers to maintain interest in the brand.
Method of collecting personal data for CRM systems. It is easier for a company to stay in touch with customers through mobile software. Secure channels for collecting information can be an effective way to update CRM systems constantly.
The benefits of secured applications are worth all the financial investments. They became a background for the continuous functioning of important business processes free from cyber attacks.
What are the risks for businesses when implementing basic cybersecurity for mobile apps?
The process of introducing mobile app security requires a complex action plan. The company should try to find experienced developers paying attention to the client’s business features and individual needs. This approach allows the corporations to avoid the following business risks associated with implementing basic cybersecurity for mobile apps:
Unjustified investments. The budget for cybersecurity implementation must have an extensive financial justification. A thoughtful approach to project implementation allows companies to get the fastest and most effective investment return.
Hiring employees. The procedure for upgrading the security of mobile applications requires high professionalism and experience from the participants in this project. The correct choice of an outsourcing development agency allows enterprises to avoid hiring full-time employees to achieve their planned goals.
Cybersecurity incompetence. A company that needs to improve application security systems should not have experience in software development. The outsourcing development company draws up a plan of all necessary measures to achieve the desired goals. This process can also involve the company’s support after innovations are completed.
All risks occurring during the process of cybersecurity improvement have certain ways to be minimized. The experienced agency of the developers allows the clients to avoid them in general. By the end of 2023, mobile app sales are expected to surpass US$935 billion.
What do we recommend doing regarding cybersecurity?
Security mechanisms are the weak point of mobile applications. Most vulnerabilities occur at the design stage due to insufficient elaboration of the security concept. It is recommended to consider the security issues of a mobile application carefully and regularly test its security, starting from the earliest stages of its life cycle.
The crucial recommendations regarding the mobile application protection imply the following points:
- Check if the application session time is appropriate.
- Find dynamic dependencies to take measures to protect these vulnerabilities from attacks.
- Protect the application from SQL injection attacks.
- Reveal cases of unmanaged code and eliminate the consequences.
- Ensure that the certificate has not expired if the application uses Certificate Pinning.
- Analyze data storage and verification requirements.
- Investigate all cryptographic codes and correct errors if necessary.
- Ensure the application’s business logic is protected and not susceptible to external attacks.
TRIARE has an advanced experience in the area of cybersecurity for mobile apps. The company’s experts provide its clients with individual action plans to reach a high level of mobile app protection. In this case, achieving the global business goals will take less time and effort due to high-quality software.
The optimization of mobile apps’ functioning represents a crucial point for their proper usage by clients. Companies working in different areas should make every effort to protect their data by creating a safe environment for customer interaction. TRIARE follows a unique method to provide business owners with high mobile app security. Customer focus and the presence of many successful cases in mobile app development allow developers to meet all the needs of the companies in the era of intense digitalization.