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Mobile App Security Insights

Poor Mobile App Security: Are You At Risk?

Jun 22, 2017 4:30:11 PM / by Sung Cho

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Have you ever worked on a high-priority project, only to discover late in the game that you’ve neglected one of the most fundamental elements in its long-term success? If so, then you certainly remember what a headache it was to rectify that oversight after the fact. That’s exactly what mobile app security is turning out to be for many developers: a key ingredient in a successful app that is vastly underestimated and often disregarded during the initial development process. 

More than even most technology, security is an especially important part of mobile apps, seeing as the shared connectivity of smartphones and tablets leaves more than ample room for vulnerabilities to arise. Moreover, users tend to save their personal information right within the app’s coding, and it’s all too easy for hackers to gain unauthorized access. In fact, even those developers who believe their app has sufficient security may be guilty of some common mistakes. You might be one of them. So here are a few ways to ensure that your app isn’t at risk.

Standardized Testing

One of the most vital parts of minimizing your app’s risk is to keep a watchful eye on the latest developments within the industry. Follow social media accounts, top news sites and other publications to remain active within the mobile app community, since new threats are constantly evolving. Thankfully, there are a number of resources out there that compile the latest vulnerabilities, and staying on top of these security standards will go a long way toward keeping your app off of hackers’ radar.

Even more importantly, knowing the most formidable threats on the horizon and any weak spots within your coding that could be exploited will help inform your testing. You should absolutely be conducting regular tests to confirm the stability and fortitude of your app, using the aforementioned security standards to guide your approach. While mobile app security is a complicated facet of your business, it’s one that is manageable with the right precautions in place. Don’t let the opportunity to strengthen your defenses slip by you.

A Solid Foundation

A simple Google search will reveal countless ways in which you can retroactively enhance your mobile app security. However, we strongly suggest that those of you who can consider securing your application from the ground up. Any security system you establish starts with the application itself, and adding in protection later on will rarely prove to be as effective. Early integration truly does make a difference, and with all the myriad security threats out there, you’ll be glad that you established a strong foundation for your app from the start.

Naturally, if your app has been live for quite some time, you may think that it’s too late to take the necessary precautions. While it’s true that your app would have been better off with this level of protection before its kickoff, you can still upgrade your security after the fact, ensuring that you’re better prepared for whatever the future may hold. Perhaps you might even be able to fine-tune your approach and apply your newfound knowledge of security to future projects as well.

Tighten Security

Testing and early integration are key parts of building a mobile app security framework strong enough to withstand the persistent attacks of hackers, but they are far from the only steps you can take to beef up the protection you provide to your app and your users. In fact, once you begin investigating all the various ways you can safeguard your code, you’re liable to become overwhelmed with the tasks that lay before you. But with so many critical security issues at hand, there are a few central concepts that very well may save your app.

Above all, be sure to include encryption as a critical part of your plan, since it -- along with obfuscation, which adds an extra layer of protection -- serves as your best tool to keep your code under wraps. Also, watch out for issues that may arise from insufficient storage as well as any vulnerabilities within your access restrictions. Anything you can do to make it more difficult for users to break into your app (or even reverse-engineer your code) is a wise move.

This Risky Business

Whenever a developer enters the world of mobile apps, there’s bound to be an acceptable level of risk that accompanies any new venture. However, just because hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities, don’t let this risk deter you from staying true to your business goals. True, mobile app security is a challenge, but with the right framework in place, it’s one that your team can easily rise above, putting the rightful emphasis on delivering a satisfying (and safe) customer experience. 

With the tips we’ve mentioned above, you’ll be one step closer to making your app hacker-proof. After all, the more difficult of a target you present, the far less likely that malicious users will tamper with your code. Stick to the suggested best practices, and you’ll notice an instantaneous boost in the safety and security of your app. In doing so, you’ll be able to avert most impending attacks and equipped to virtually eliminate the impact they make on your app and its users.

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Topics: Hacking Threats, Application Security

Sung Cho

Written by Sung Cho

Head of Marketing at SEWORKS Co., Ltd.