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Mobile App Security Insights

How A Mobile Application Hack Can Hurt Your Business

Apr 19, 2017 12:30:46 PM / by Sung Cho

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Mobile application hacks are, quite literally, everywhere. There are millions of hacks or attempted hacks each day, and as the number of mobile applications grow, so too will the number of hacking attempts. For hackers hoping to make it big, a mobile application hack is ultimately a game of numbers. 

By trying to break into a number of apps, a hacker increases the odds that they’ll successfully crack at least a few. That’s why virtually every mobile app is exposed to hacking attempts on a near-continual basis. Without adequate security protections, it’s only a matter of time before a mobile application hack affects your app.

What You Need To Know About Mobile Application Hacks

The numbers aren’t comforting -- 97% of mobile apps don’t have binary protection, and 75% fail even the most basic security tests. AppSolid’s binary protection offers the security you need at a price you can afford. Here’s what your business stands to lose if you don’t protect your app, your customers, and your reputation.

Your Reputation: Which Is The Most Important Asset You Have

Whether your business is small, large, or somewhere in between, your reputation is the most important asset you have. Consider how some companies’ names have become synonymous with the hacks that nearly took them down. No one can hear the name Ashley Madison without thinking about the hack that nearly destroyed the purveyor of extramarital affairs, while Target is still recovering from the data breach that affected millions of customers.

As people become more comfortable with technology, they also become more committed to mobile security. The reason for this is simple: technological growth means that people store more information on more devices than ever before. A decade ago, a hack yielded little. Today, a hack can gain access to a person’s entire life story, financial history, and health records.

Your users care about security -- and if they don’t now, they will as soon as they’re hacked. In such a competitive app marketplace, with more than a million new apps developed each year, your reputation is everything. If customers think their data is unsafe with you, they’ll move right along to the next company. No business is truly one of a kind. There’s always competition. Mobile app security gives you the competitive edge you need.

Legal Issues

Think your disaster intervention and PR specialists will save your reputation? Maybe you’re right. But what about the legal costs of a hack? Target recently settled a hacking-related lawsuit for $39 million. What’s more, that’s just one suit. The retail giant settled or litigated many more suits, producing a bill that would bankrupt virtually every other business -- and that nearly bankrupted Target.

Knowingly exposing your customer’s to data breaches can get you sued. You might even face state or federal penalties. Though companies aren’t typically prosecuted for hacks, it’s not out of the question, particularly if you are criminally negligent.

But what if it’s not your fault? What if you simply fail to properly secure your data? Shouldn’t that mean you’re free from the financial exposure a lawsuit presents? Not a chance. Being sued is costly even if you win. You’ll have to pay a lawyer, cover filing fees and litigation expenses. You’ll lose endless time attending hearings and depositions. And of course, lawsuits are public, which means the suit could cost you your reputation. Indeed, simply being sued lends credibility to the claim that you were incautious, even if you’re not at fault. It’s simply not worth the risk.

Intellectual Property

Hackers want more than just your customers’ data. They may also try to access your intellectual property -- the code, business plans, and other information that makes your business unique. Armed with this information, they can build on your success, without having to work for it. This is why an increasing number of mobile app hacks are actually on the server side. Criminals know that’s where the real money is.

Even if a hacker only accesses a bit of information, they may be able to use it to harm your brand. For example, having just a few lines of code can allow a hacker to reproduce some or all of what you’ve built, but offer it at a lower price or with some other incentive that pulls away customers. Your intellectual property is your most valuable asset, so treat it that way. Without it, you have no business.

Creditworthiness

Few businesses can survive without access to credit. Particularly if your business expands more rapidly than you can bring in cash, you’ll need loans or credit cards. For example, if a million users suddenly download your app, you’ll have to pay more coders, build more storage, and perhaps construct more servers -- often well before you see the money those users offer.

A mobile app hack can affect your business’s creditworthiness in two ways. First, it may create debt by giving rise to lawsuits and fines. Secondly, it undermines the lender's confidence in your business. If the lender thinks you might be sued, that a mobile app hack could harm your reputation, or that your business might tank because of hacking, the lender has little incentive to invest in your business. If your competitors are more intelligent about mobile app hacks, that could leave them with a huge competitive edge in the form of access to lines of credit you could only dream of.

Business Growth

What does business growth look like to you? More interested customers? More investors? More money? Going public and being traded on the stock market?

Here’s one thing it doesn’t look like: negative press, a declining customer base, and no one who thinks your business is a worthwhile gamble. A mobile app hack makes it difficult for your business to grow because you’re stuck addressing the problems the hack has produced. This wastes time you could spend looking toward the future. No matter what your future plans are, your business can’t grow when it’s under attack and losing ground.

Investing in mobile app security can feel like a frustrating cash drain when you’re struggling to get your business off the ground. But in the long term, it’s worth it. Quality businesses protect their customers, and whether you’re tiny or enormous, it’s high time you focus on one of the most important things to prevent a hack.

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Topics: Mobile App Hacking, Application Security

Sung Cho

Written by Sung Cho

Head of Marketing at SEWORKS Co., Ltd.