The emergence of the smartphone as a key staple in our everyday lives means that it is now possible to complete important everyday tasks via the device rather than relying on a desktop computer. This has led to the wider emergence and adoption of mobile applications across demographics, meaning that it is now commonplace for the devices to be used to check emails, shop online, and even conduct banking transactions.

The applications that are used to carry out these tasks connect to APIs and servers on a global level to provide user-orientated services, data and a greater level of user interaction, personalisation and autonomy. Unsurprisingly, these large volumes of personal and sensitive user data mean that hackers and fraudsters are routinely trying to identify and exploit weaknesses within mobile applications to breach and gain access and exploit this data.

Not only does this pose a threat to users due to fraud and other criminal activity, but just one data breach poses the real risk of causing severe consequences for companies and enterprises due to a lack of trust in their quality of service, meaning decreases in customer retention and new customer acquisition in the medium term.

Both APIs and mobile applications can have hidden vulnerabilities that get missed during the production phases, meaning that important data could become unsecure and pose a high-level security risk. Despite the widely covered data breaches in recent years, the majority of users will not think twice before downloading a mobile application and will assume that those available on the Google Play Store and the App Store have been fully vetted and secure.

However, as mentioned earlier, if security and data were to be breached, this could have severe consequences for the producer of the application due to the loss of consumer and user confidence and trust. Instead of investing to further increase the size and revenue of the company, time would need to be invested to assist in rebuilding a positive perception of the company.

How Can Mobile Applications Security Be Compromised?

  • Hackers are able to infect applications with malware or even on the mobile device itself. This means that there are risks in relation to both the hardware and software of the device and that both need to be protected.
  • It is possible for hackers to mimic a genuine mobile application to deceive end users into downloading it and then using the rogue application to intercept and steal sensitive data.
  • Fraudsters can intercept sensitive and personal information being transferred if the application is not properly secured.

How Can A Mobile Application Be Protected?

When developing a mobile application, device security is paramount from the outset and it is imperative that it is at the forefront during the initial planning phase and then in both the design and build phases.

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Investing in Device Security is Paramount

Ensuring that you are investing a high proportion of your budget into mobile application protection, including in-app protection, is of the utmost importance. This means that you will be protecting your existing and future applications in the most reliable way in the long-term and providing high levels of security.

Fortunately for enterprises there have been developments within the mobile sector which mean that there are now innovations at companies’ disposal to provide a seamless UX that does not impact upon both performance and security.

There are also solutions available that provide the necessary security protection for both current and future mobile applications. These advancements have been utilised to provide the highest possible experience for users while also enhancing levels of security and protection.

In order to provide this high level of security it is imperative to seek out solutions that isolate sensitive and important information into a secured and protected environment away from the device’s main operating system. It is possible to gain greater levels of enhanced security by choosing a solution that offers both hardware and software protection on a device to achieve the highest levels of security.

Incorporate Further Levels of Authentication

Another way in which to enhance mobile device security is providing greater levels of authentication and ensuring that the person using the application is who they say they are. This can be achieved by utilising messaging solutions that provide one-time-passwords (OTPs) or FIDO authentication.

When using an external API that is not your own, then carrying out checks to ensure that all is fully secure, and that access is only provided to the most important areas of the application so as to avoid issues related to users’ data being compromised. If one has not been done, an in-depth audit of the API should be carried out in order to ensure that any potential risks are clearly identified, and action taken to rectify the issue.

Plan & Implement Regular Testing Procedures

It is important that the code is tested during the development phase as opposed to being reserved for the development phase only. Testing is usually only conducted post-build and from a UX perspective to refine the application for functionality, however testing from a security perspective is arguably even more important.

This ensures that any vulnerabilities in the code are identified and eradicated before it is released to the market. It is important that this includes penetration testing to ascertain if there are weakness – this should be complemented with emulators for various devices, operating systems and browsers.

All of these aspects will enable you to view insights into ways in which the application will perform in a simulated environment to gauge if there are security issues that need to be considered.