The Heightened Importance of Cybersecurity in Mobile App Development

Cybersecurity in Mobile App

Multiple billion-dollar companies of today are mobile apps. In our current state, where everything is connected via the internet, the number of cyberattacks has increased worldwide. The majority of companies are concerned about security in business, and the theft of confidential data.

To tell you more about the situation in hindsight, let’s explore some of the past cybersecurity attacks.

Past Security Intrusions in Mobile Apps

Here are some of the most famous mobile app security incidents that occurred in 2021. Have a look:

1. Android Bug made Slack ask Users to Reset their Password

An article published by Forbes in 2021 talks about how slack users were asked to reset their passwords. It happened when a bug was introduced to the android version of slack. This bug was logging users using unencrypted text or clear text. Slack immediately made the affected accounts’ passwords invalid. However, not even more than half a year later, slack reset almost 100,000 user passwords that were affected in a security incident in 2015.

2. Customer Balance revealed by Klarna Payments App

The incident happened when Klarna received an investment of $639 million. Users were able to see each other’s account balances. The company disclosed it as a human error. The system took erroneous data into the cache which was distributed amongst the customers.

3. Data leaked by Amazon Ring

A security flaw in the Amazon app Ring Neighbors exposed the precise location of the user. The app allowed public posts but never revealed the precise location of the user. During operations, the latitude and longitude of the user are also collected as hidden data. The bug on the other hand revealed in the post shared by the users.

4. Millions of User data get leaked by Android Apps

Almost 100 million users were affected when 13 popular android apps leaked user data. It was amongst the largest data breach in the year 2021. It happened when the developers weren’t able to secure third-party data, user emails, images, passwords, chats, etc.

5. Zero Day flaw in Apple iMessage exposes 900 million users

A flaw in the Apple iMessage app also known as the zero-day flaw exposed all the users in the iPhone ecosystem to NSO Group spyware. It included devices from iPads, and iPhones, to watches. This intrusion enabled NSO to spy on multiple political activists.

Importance of Cybersecurity in Mobile App Development

A survey by Statista covers an interesting report related to a similar subject matter. The survey conducted in 2021 covered respondents regarding app security from both the ecosystem i.e. iOS and Android. Around 45% of the respondents said that they would ask their friends and family to stop using that app if the security of their data and its usage was in concern. It also stated that the users of the iOS ecosystem were a lot more serious about the same.

Another report by Statista from 2022 states the percentage of mobile app threats encountered by users of different countries –

  • Australia – 27%
  • China – 10%
  • Russia – 5.5%
  • USA – 1.4%

There are some other insights by Statista too such as:

  • The number of cyber attacks in December 2021 was 2.1 million worldwide.
  • Smishing attacks that targeted IT professionals and organizations rose from 61% to 74%.
  • In 2022, in the first half, the world experienced around 2.2 billion malware attacks. This number was 5.4 billion in 2021 and 10.5 billion in 2018.

Security in Business – Common threats associated with Mobile App Development

Here are the top security threats that can make your mobile app security weak. These are:

  • Processing dubious code: A lot of developers simply copy and paste from one resource to another. A great example of this would be stackoverflow which is a full-fledged community for developers. However, these codes can be intentionally written by crackers to gain unsolicited access.
  • Poor encryptions: Sending emails and messages that are clear text and not encrypted is bad for user data security. It leaves the data vulnerable if caught in a man-in-the-middle attack.
  • Weak server security: Servers store confidential data, thereby, making them important to secure. The best way to do so would be to employ an SSL in the making and hard encryption to break.
  • Caching: Caching is a process carried out by computer systems to make the accessibility of a particular file easier. However, when confidential information is cached then it can be easily breached to access the information.
  • No penetration testing: Penetration testing helps in understanding the blindspots that aren’t figured out yet. It is important to understand the security flaws before releasing an app.

Safeguarding Mobile Apps – Things to Keep in Mind

Cybersecurity is a major concern for multiple leading organizations. With attacks becoming prominent day by day, even the most minuscule redundancy in the security of the business can create massive havoc. 

To safeguard from this situation, here are tips mobile app development companies can follow:

  • Encrypt source code: It is an important practice. An exposed source code means an exposed application. Any person with minimal coding knowledge can easily modify the code and use it for malicious purposes.
  • Secure data transit: Any data especially confidential being transmitted from one place to another should be tunneled using SSL or VPN.
  •  Use the latest cryptography: Cryptography is a technique used to encrypt data using multiple encryption algorithms. Over time some older algorithms become redundant, therefore, one should check before adopting them. Some of the relevant ones are AES (Advanced encryption standard), 3DES (Triple data encryption standard), RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman), etc.
  • Backend security: Apps run on client-server and exchange of data between them. To do so, the system would try to connect with APIs. However, these APIs should be verified before making a valid connection between the client and the server.
  • Penetration test: As mentioned above, penetration tests should be an essential part of the development cycle. It brings out the major security redundancies & flaws that can create a gap for hackers to intrude. Therefore, the process must be carried out.

Wrapping Up! 

Reinforcing security in business is a major concern for every multinational company. Considering, hackers from all over the world are onlooking to find even the smallest vulnerability to exploit it. Improving the security of an app is a continuous process. 

Just like technology is evolving, the tactics used for cyber attacks are also becoming better and smarter. However, with a proper understanding, protecting the customer’s data and confidential information won’t be an issue. With this article, we have tried to help you understand the importance of cybersecurity. Also, how even redundancies can lead to huge catastrophes.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.