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Mobile App Security – What Are You Missing?

Mobile App Security – What Are You Missing?

In today’s ever more connected world, people are increasingly turning to the apps they have on their smartphones just to get though the day. What was once just a way to play the newest game or to check out what our friends were doing on social networks, apps have now evolved to become so much more. We now have apps that give us direct access to our bank accounts and even allow us to place stock orders on exchanges around the world. Not only do people use apps every day for a vast number of activities, but every single app — no matter how basic — stores personal information that no one wants leaked. Because of the trust that is placed in these little boxes on our phones, it is important that the security infrastructure that they are built on is solid and can withstand third party attacks. The average person on the street probably doesn’t think twice about app security, and that is why it is even more important for app developers to keep it top of mind.

A few years ago it was just PCs, and to a lesser extent Macs, that had to worry about malware and spyware, but with the proliferation of smartphones and mobile apps, malicious parties are starting to direct their attention to the treasure trove of information that is found in everyone’s pocket. There is no silver bullet to stop a malware attack, so developers must stay vigilant and make sure that their apps are as up-to-date as possible. With that said, even the most secure apps will get breached. One of the best ways to protect from outside attacks is to stage a few mock attacks yourself. Companies can hire a white hat hacker, which is a computer security specialist who breaks into protected systems and networks to test and evaluate their security. White hat hackers improve security by uncovering vulnerabilities before malicious hackers (known as black hat hackers) can detect and exploit them. By hiring a white hat hacker that is not beholden to anyone at the company, you are more likely to find problems you would otherwise overlook.

More and more websites are turning to encryption to protect their data. While the total number of sites that are encrypted is low, the ones that are encrypted get the majority of all web traffic. Mobile app developers should follow suit and quickly adopt HTTPS or another equally secure protocol. Some experts are even starting to recommend the use of VPNs for any access to occur between the app and other firms’ systems.

Apple has started to introduce biometrics to their phones, and credit card companies are tossing around the idea of using selfies as alternate passwords — so it is clear that strong authentication for apps is necessary. Even if your app is something as innocuous as the latest Candy Crush game, there is still important information stored on that app. It is vital that the user at least have the ability to secure their information on the apps that they use.

The battle to protect data on mobile apps will never end, but that does not mean that developers shouldn’t know the latest security best practices. Recent reports show that 75% of apps do not encrypt data, and in 2012 alone there was a 163% increase of malware attacks on mobile apps. The lesson from this is clear: Always be vigilant when it comes to customer data on mobile apps.

To learn more about securing your mobile apps, contact us for a consultation

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