Mobile apps, though indispensable, are vulnerable to many security lapses that are not fit for both businesses and end-users. Apps could get easily hacked or infected with viruses or malware even with adequate security checks in place. And, cloning of mobile apps is something everyone is talking about in the financial spheres these days. There are certain mobile app security challenges predicted for the New Year. Before moving on to them, let’s take a look at a few statistics that paint a grim picture of mobile app security status.
- About 1/3rd of companies that develop mobile phone apps don’t have the testing procedures in place. It makes mobile apps quite vulnerable to attacks from cyber-miscreants.
- About 50% of businesses don’t allocate a budget for mobile app security testing.
- 89% of the vulnerabilities are exploited by hackers who won’t require even physical access to the device.
Taking a cue from these statistics and the fact that mobile apps have penetrated our lives way deeper than ever, experts opine that the coming year will require attention to these app security challenges.
1. Security at the Designing Stage – A Big Concern
Reverse engineering is possible to apply right at the designing stage. Since there is a lack of binary shields during the designing process, the engineers can easily inject a code to disrupt the data structures. It makes the mobile apps more exposed to data theft possibilities leading to revenue losses, and other privacy concerns.
Another source of threat to design security is cross-platform scripting loopholes. All developers are employing a cross-platform mobile app development process. However, quality testing and related tools are not designed to detect cross-platform feature vulnerabilities. So, the coming year will face this mobile app challenge and maybe on the priority list of the developers and testers.
2. The Rich Repertoire of Features but Poor Security Cover
Mobile device input form factor is one of the most vulnerable areas, from where adverse codes can enter the app design ecosystem. It employs quite an easy authentication procedure, such as 4-digit PIN identification, which makes the backend server quite exposed.
Mobile apps are clamoring the app store spaces, with billions of those being rolled out regularly. Thus, there is a race to be more enriched than contemporaries. Accordingly, there is an element of haste that characterizes the quicker-to-market processes. While designing with such tight deadlines, and a nil budget for apps security, the functionalities may lag in robustness. It will be a big elephant in the mobile app development space that will require sincere addressing.
3. Obsolete Mobile App Testing Tools
It is a fact that businesses don’t assign a substantial budget to the security of mobile apps. So, the shortage of demand emerges from this attitude. Understandably, the developers lag in research focused on mobile app security solutions due to nil demand. It explains the lack of time-relevant app security enablers.
Secondly, mobile app development tools have grown phenomenally fast. With solutions like MEAN and MERN, the developers have found multiple app building solutions. These frameworks are ideal for cross-platform app developments. But, the app security tools are still compatible with old school development frameworks only. It is most likely to trend in 2021 also unless the businesses change their attitude towards app security.
Also, since there is a burning desire among the developers to produce feature-rich mobile apps to kill the competition, each iteration testing comes as a challenge. With so much to do and a weakly organized development process, some misses can happen despite all sincerity.
4. Poor Encryption of Data
It is closely related to a weak data storage framework. There have been instances when the user data was exposed due to a poorly encrypted storage solution. It results from breakage in cryptography. A weak encryption algorithm and other practices like storage of keys in easily accessible locations, dispensing with hard coding of keys, and use of custom protocols for encryption give way to easy decryption of the data.
Broken cryptography is a big challenge and requires developers to stop a little and contemplate ways to overcome it. Though mobile apps boast of the best security solutions in place, time and again, the attacks have shown the real state of affairs. Hence, it is a challenge worth working towards in the coming year.
5. Long Login Sessions Granted
User experience is the core outcome sought after by mobile app development experts. In this endeavor, a small security factor, like login session length, has been completely ignored. The users are shopping at leisure in a literal sense, that too, without logging out of their accounts. Even when they have switched to other mobile utilities, their login session continues for an appreciable length.
It may seem completely harmless but has become the breeding ground for attacks and malware injections. Though it is not entirely development related, hijacking of user rights in case of mobile thefts comes down heavily on the app users.
This practice needs to be addressed in 2021 when the open sessions will stand out like a sore thumb to the information stealers.
The above-mentioned mobile app security considerations are a reality. There are certain easy steps to take, such as obfuscating the code, review of third-party libraries and traditional design audits one can think of adopting. The ultimate key lies in secure development process adoption, overall.