In this era of software and technology, we are all aware of the role of mobile applications. However, with this amazing technology, there also some major Mobile App Security Issues that you need to deal with.
Not only do they convert more difficult tasks into simpler ones, but they enable us to perform numerous functions through our smartphones while sitting at the comfort of our homes or anywhere on the globe for that matter.
With time, the mobile application industry has witnessed tremendous transformations in terms of new and advanced features.
The credit for such a transformation is to the constant upgrading of technology along with rising consumer demands and expectations.
With time, people’s expectations regarding advanced features in their mobile apps are reaching soaring heights.
That is why app developers across the world are continually working on building new and improved mobile applications to fulfill these needs.
But with every good thing comes certain disadvantages. Similarly, mobile apps also have their own set of demerits.
One of the most critical faults is their vulnerability to cyber-attacks and threats. Mobile Apps make use of the Internet.
Hence, it is evident that they are open to several malware and malicious attacks persisting on the Internet.
This is one of the prime concerns that app developers have to deal with while developing mobile apps.
In this blog, we will learn about various security issues that come in the way of successful app development.
But before that, let us learn some of the reasons why integrating security measures in apps is essential:
Why Incorporating Security Measures In Mobile Apps Is Necessary?
1. Mobile applications are the favorite targets of hackers for getting access to sensitive information, as they are easier to get access to because of their mass usage.
2. The loss of sensitive and personal information will hurt your business. There are high chances of misusing your customers’ data. It will eventually have a severe impact on the reputation of your company.
3. Malicious cyber-attacks might also result in loss of financial information, thus causing substantial economic losses to your organization.
4. Specific industry standards require maintaining a certain level of security measures in mobile apps. Besides keeping your apps secured, you will also be adhering to applicable rules and regulations.
5. You never know how much damage can one single attack do to your app and the device it runs on. Long before you know, you might end up in a stage where you have to build your app from scratch. This will result in unwanted spending and loss of time. So, deal with Mobile App Security Issues ASAP.
Security Issues To Be Dealt With By Mobile App Developers
Some of the Mobile App Security Issues to be dealt with by app developers are as under:
1. Use Of Authorized Application Program Interface (API)
API (Application Program Interface) plays an important role when it comes to maintaining security in mobile apps.
Therefore, the Mobile App Development Company should take this into account. It will help you in the long run.
It is essential to use an authorized API while building the codes. Unauthorized API allows hackers to have access to your authentication information and data easily.
2. Choose Libraries Carefully
Many developers prefer using third party libraries while writing a mobile app. It is very much necessary for the app developers to select the third-party libraries carefully and choose the trustworthy ones.
Using unsafe third-party libraries while developing an app allows hackers to have different ways to have access to mobile apps. In this manner, you can deal with Mobile App Security Issues.
3. Frequent Updates With Latest Security Features
Updating your apps is an ongoing process. When it comes to creating a much–secured mobile app, you always have to be prepared with required updates to update your apps with new and advanced security features.
Your applications can never be fully secured. You need to keep updating it time and again when it becomes necessary for security concerns.
Hence, besides being ready with required updates, you also have to make sure that the app is updateable without much hassle.
4. Encryption Of Mobile App Data
Encryption has to be provided even at the developing stage of the app. This prevents unauthorized access to the apps.
You can do that by converting sensitive information to code format. It is one of the most effective ways of dealing with Mobile App Security Issues
This will prevent hackers from access as the information as they have to decrypt it first. So, in a way, encryption is an effective way of securing mobile apps from hackers.
5. Proper Session Handling
The importance of adequate session management for apps is a well-known fact for expert developers.
That is the reason they try to use sessions even during the development stage of the app.
Improper session handling occurs when the previous session continues even after the user switches away from the app.
Some app developers adopt long sessions to keep their users engaged for a more extended period. But they do more harm than good.
They impose severe threats to the app data as anyone having access to the device can tamper with it.
6. Writing Hard Codes And At The Same Time Keeping User’s Convenience In Mind
While building mobile applications, it is essential to write hard codes to prevent access to hackers. It can prevent the Mobile App Security Issues.
Along with using the best security codes, it is also necessary that they are updateable. Hackers always keep looking for loopholes in a well-structured application.
But at the same time, it is essential for app developers to keep user’s convenience in mind.
Adding necessary networks in the app or writing complicated codes would most likely confuse the users and fail to deliver satisfying results.
But again, writing too simple codes would make them vulnerable to malware attacks by hackers. Hence, developers have to make sure that the codes serve both purposes.
7. Choosing Trustable Methods For Writing Codes
Writing hard codes, as mentioned in the previous point, is essential. But developers should also keep in mind to select the right ways of writing these codes.
Developers should make an informed decision while picking the best cryptography protocols to protect the apps against cyber threats.
8. Issues Cropping Up Due To Device Fragmentation
A majority of mobile devices run on Android OS. Manufacturers of these devices often customize the Android to add special features to their devices and make them unique.
These charges differ from device to device. For. E.g., the personalized features of a Redmi handset vary from Samsung, but both run on Android.
Some manufacturers even add custom layers to enhance the performance of the device. Some hardware changes make the platform vulnerable to malware attacks.
Due to these customized features and layers, the security of Android devices differs from one another.
As a result, the security features introduced in an App may work efficiently in a device while being equally ineffective in another device.
Hence, while installing security features in the apps, the customized features of all these devices pose a significant challenge.
9. Extraordinary Security Features To Keep Sensitive Data Secure
All operating systems have been a target of security threats in the past. However, the Android platform is more vulnerable when it comes to cyber-attacks and threats. It has been continuously in the limelight for frequent malware attacks now and then.
Each security flaw has the potential of attacking the security of millions of Android devices at one go, thus attacking the privacy of sensitive and personal information of users.
There is no end to these security threats; you cannot eradicate that. Hence, developers should try to impose extraordinary security features to keep sensitive information safe and inaccessible even if the system gets hit by malicious attacks.
10. Lack Of Security Updates
Lack of security updates is a significant concern for many Operating systems. For Apple devices, any impending security loophole can be fixed and taken care of by releasing a new version of iOS and updating it into all the devices.
But the same is not the case with Android devices. Though Google releases security updates to fix bugs and glitches, the upgrades are not guaranteed to be available to all the Android devices.
A significant section of the android devices does not usually receive the latest updates from Google. Due to this, most Android apps are prone to security issues now and then.
11. Presence Of Malicious Apps In The Apps Store
Apps stores contain various malicious apps. Though their percentage is very low in Apple’s play store, Google Play store and other platforms have a high percentage of such apps.
Google’s policy on identifying malicious apps is not as effective as that of Apple’s.
Though Google removes several malicious apps from its play store now and then, yet one malicious app tends affecting millions of users at a time.
They have the potential of attacking the personal and sensitive information of users. This issue has to be dealt with by Apps developers after the launch of the Apps in Play store.
12. Permission To Install Third-Party Apps
Android mobile users have the option of downloading and installing various third-party apps from the Play store.
Besides downloading apps from Play Store, you can download third-party apps from other sources like Amazon, software websites, etc. This is not allowed in Apple devices.
Through these third-party apps, malware writers and hackers get access to the Android devices and the apps installed in it to attack sensitive and confidential data.
Apple does not allow third-party installation from unverified sources. Hence, this issue is more prevalent in Android.
13. Security Issues Due To Changes Made By OS Owners
Updates and changes are periodically introduced in the operating systems by their owners. Sometimes, these updates hurt the OS’s security system.
Though these updates improve the features of the devices or the performance but make them more vulnerable to malware devices.
In such a situation, the existing security features of the apps have to be revised and updated to make them in line with the updated OS version.
14. Prefer Professional Techniques For Developing a Mobile App
As a Mobile App Developer, you should always prefer professional and well-known techniques to be traditional and less-used ones for creating codes.
Professional techniques possess better security features, which are in line with existing technology versions.
They are updated quite frequently to maintain security standards. As a result, apps build with these techniques are also more secure and safe.
What Steps Can Be Taken To Mitigate Security Threats In Mobile Apps?
Developers can take some of the below-mentioned steps to integrate mobile application security in mobile app development:
1. A Mandatory Initial Audit
Before proceeding with the commencement of the development process, the team of developers should first conduct a review of the underlying threats.
Mobile apps differ from business to business, due to which the features will also vary.
Conducting an initial audit will provide an idea about the possible security issues and the steps that could be taken to prevent them.
2. Risk Analysis
For ensuring maximum mobile application security, it is essential to run a quality check before launching the same to apps store for the public.
The application is to be tested entirely against set benchmarks to identify any potential risks.
3. Risk Evaluation
Once you identify potential risks and dangers, they need to be evaluated to figure out the ones to be addressed and the ways for addressing them.
This will help in correcting severe issues at the right time before releasing the apps in the public domain.
4. Conducting a Code Review
Coding plays a vital role in mobile app securities. You need to write hard codes for preventing their access to hackers at the same time, keeping them simple to understand for users.
It is advised to conduct a code review a few times before finalizing the same, for it will help in detecting coding flaws if any.
5. Threat Intelligence
Threat intelligence involves taking proactive measures that consistently monitor activities taking place both on networks and externally.
This helps in keeping a check on possible plotted cyber attacks. It will help in the early prevention of security attacks.
6. Hiring An Expert
It is always advised to hire a team of experts for assessing the potential risks and securities of a mobile app.
Many developers are experts in the developing process, but when it comes to the security front, they do not possess the requisite knowledge.
Apps security is becoming a serious concern in today’s time, which should mandatorily be taken care of by a team of experts.
Some Of The Severe Mobile App Security Threats That Occurred in 2018
A malware attack led hackers to have access to user’s accounts and personal data. As a result, around 50 million accounts got compromised.
An attacker gained access to Timehop’s cloud computing environment. Timehop was able to stop the attack on time, but a massive amount of data was lost.
This app is used to pay government dues in many states of the USA. The app stores customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and four digits of their payment card numbers. Due to their weak security measures, around 14 million receipts got exposed to outsiders.
In March 2018, a virus got detected in Google+ social media API, which allowed third-party developers to have access to personal information of its members.
When revealed later, the bug was identified to be one year old. Though the virus has potentially damaged the accounts of 5,00,000 users, Google denies having evidence of misuse or malicious activities.
Mobile app security is a serious matter, and you should not take it lightly. Especially for open-sourced platforms like Android, the chances of threats are manifold because of its compatibility with a massive number of devices and third-party apps.
But instead of focusing on the reasons for security issues, the emphasis should be laid on finding an effective solution.
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