Risks Concerning App Security and Their Resolution| By |Ashfaq Ahmad

The consumers of mobile apps brings about an extreme level of convenience for the users. This level of convenience that is offered by the mobile devices is unprecedented so far. The users will be able to perform innumerable functions like viewing the bank balance and transactions, booking a hotel from the comforts of your home or office and even carrying on online shopping activities. The users will be able to use all these services from home, office and even while on the road.

Along with these extremely convenient means, the users are also concerned about the security issues that arise, related to the passwords, bank logins, card details and all other extremely confidential information. Under these circumstances, even the most tested among the apps will have some form of vulnerabilities or other. According to the State of Application Security Report of 2016, 90% of the tested apps will have at least two security vulnerabilities. App security, as of now is a huge concern and there must be a thorough analysis of what are the issues that are faced while developing the mobile app.

Reasons for Caring about App Security

For the mobile platform, security issues are of primary importance. There are too many data breaches across organizations and in 2015, the amount is said to be as high as $3.8 million. There are too many reasons for which you avoid security issues such as losing the user confidence, while compromising the credibility and the strength of your brand, besides money acting as a form of paying price.

Here are some of the issues related to App Security and also ways to mitigate these issues with some preventive measures, developing a great mobile app, which not only provides a great user experience, but is able to keep the user data absolutely safe and these are:

Weak Server Side Controls

The servers that are accessed by your mobile apps must be secured, without any form of unauthorized access by users. These servers may be your own or belong to third-party systems.

Insufficient Transport Layer Protection

Often there are third parties termed as threat agents who will be able to see the data that is carried out in the carrier network and the internet. This happens mostly with the insecure mobile apps as they exchange data in the client-server way. These are the users who are in the network on account of monitored or compromised WiFi. From proxies to cell towers and the routers, all of these can act as a potential threat agent. Yet again, malware can be installed on your mobile, before the installation of the mobile apps. The preventive action is to add a transport layer to increase the app security level. The best method is to ensure extra amount of coding quality.

Weak Encryption and Broken Cryptography

Encryption technology is constantly evolving, but the older ones are easier to crack. So, you may land up in trouble, if you are not using encryption technologies or avoiding using them at all. This is particularly encouraged when you are handling your credit cards through these apps.

It must be ensured that the cryptography that is employed is stable and must not be broken at any cost. These are detected using tools and techniques like threat modeling, penetration testing and interactive tools used for the purpose of modifying an active session.

Client Side Injection

The Android app is generally downloaded on the mobile device of the user. The code will be residing on the device. There is a high probability of the hacker injecting the client device with a SQL injection. The mitigation of such risks will be ensured by the platform-specific practices followed by the developers.

Insecure Data Storage

Mobile devices are capable of storing short-term information, for a longer duration and this is made possible through the caching of data, which increases the speed. These cached information are easily accessible. The data caching risks can be mitigated by the means of programming the cache to be wiped out in, automatically, whenever the system reboots. Other preventive measures may include the usage of passwords, but not at the cost of discouraging the users.

Improper Session Handling

Proper session handling must be resorted to for the apps which have access to sensitive data. This is about following the best practices on session handling, In other words, after the lapse of a stipulated time, your system must log out. This is a preventive measure against any other person encroaching upon your space.

Poor Levels of Authorization and Authentication

The measures on authorization and authentication must have the ability to protect the mobile apps and and the connected systems. So, the data is transferred to the app’s workflow, only for the authorized systems and users. The unauthorized systems, users and the scripts are not only identified, but must be identified and subsequently blocked.

There are more such issues that can be added to this list on app security, and it must be convincing by this time that they are serious problems indeed. The more popular is the app, higher are such vulnerabilities encountered.

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