Mobile applications are now at the core of everyday digital experiences for both businesses and their users. However, as the number of mobile apps increases, this also poses new security threats to both businesses and users alike.
In this article, we will share the Top 10 most effective procedures for App protection that every organization and application developer can apply to secure their mobile applications from modern cybersecurity attacks by malicious cybercriminals.
Why Application Security is important?
While many people view application security as a requirement, not all understand why it’s so important. Application security is vital for businesses because of how common and costly security breaches can be. A single security breach can cost businesses on average $4.35 million.
Cybercrimes are up by 600% while cybersecurity remains a persistent threat and a growing challenge facing every industry on the planet. Skilled adversaries continue to identify and exploit security vulnerabilities present in modern business applications — targeting both businesses and application users.
In fact, a recent research study conducted by Osterman, revealed that over 85% of commercial apps have ‘critical’ security vulnerabilities that adversaries can exploit for malicious purposes.
Did you know that a single security breach can cost a business $4.35 million?
Another report published by Trustwave, reported that almost 99.7% of web applications have at least one security loophole while on average a single smartphone user uses 9 mobile apps per day and 30 apps per month. These statistics indicate the critical need for secure applications for both businesses and consumers alike.
To maximize customer experience and to ensure privacy and security of customers, developers and businesses of all types and sizes need to bake security parameters into the core of application architectures. Vulnerable applications can allow cybercriminals and malicious actors to potentially compromise your apps, steal critical user data or even find a way into other parts of your business. Therefore, it is critical to develop applications with a security-first mindset and a strong focus on user safety and privacy.
Build38 recommends these 10 Application Security Practices
Mobile applications are becoming more and more popular, but the increasing adoption of such applications is posing security challenges to both businesses and users alike. If you are developing mobile applications, here are 10 application security practices that will help you develop secure applications.
1. Conduct a Security Assessment
Before you can even begin to think about securing your application, you need to know where your weaknesses are. An application security assessment will help you identify which areas of your application are most vulnerable and in need of improvement.
2. Implement Information Leak Prevention (ILP)
Information leak prevention (ILP) or data leak prevention (DLP) are security measures designed to prevent confidential or sensitive information from being leaked outside of an organization. It is important to implement ILP measures early in the development process, as it can be difficult to retroactively secure an application. Some common ILP measures include data encryption, access control, and input validation.
3. Restrict Data Accessibility
When it comes to data security, you should never take chances. One of the best ways to protect your data is by restricting accessibility. That way, only authorized personnel can access sensitive information. You can restrict data accessibility in a number of ways, such as privilege management, using multi-factor authentication and so on.
4. Minimize Attack Surface Area
One of the best ways to reduce your attack surface area is to think about security early on in the development process. By considering security at each stage of development, you can make sure that your applications are as secure as possible.
5. Use Application Security Standards
There are multiple application security standards that can help businesses and app developers build secure applications. These standards should be integrated into every step of development — from product conception through testing, deployment and beyond. Examples of such standards include; OWASP Asvs, Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) and Internet of Secure Things Alliance (ioXt).
6. Encrypt Sensitive Data
Your application will inevitably store or process sensitive data and information of its users. Protecting that sensitive information is critical to ensure the security and privacy of the application users. Leveraging encryption can help you secure data stored and processed by your application. When data is encrypted, it is converted into a code that can only be decrypted by authorized individuals. This helps to protect the data from being accessed by unauthorized individuals. There are a few different ways to encrypt data, so it’s important to choose the right method for your needs.
7. Enable Proper Logging & Monitoring
All security events should be logged, including login attempts (successful and unsuccessful), privilege changes, file and data access, etc. These logs should be monitored in real-time so that you can quickly identify and respond to any suspicious activity. You should also have a process in place for periodically reviewing logs so that you can spot long-term trends or patterns of malicious activity. Additionally, alerts should be configured so that you are notified immediately of any suspicious activity.
8. Regular Updates
As an application developer and service provider, it is your core duty to regularly release security and general updates to ensure your application is running smoothly and securely. By regularly releasing essential updates you can close up potential security holes that could be exploited by hackers — which will ultimately increase user experience and security.
9. Follow Standard Security Practices
Ensure you and your developers follow essential security practices, including using strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and keeping all software up to date. In addition, developers should never store sensitive data in the code or commit it to version control.
10. Train Users on Best Practices in Application Usage
If users don’t understand how your application works, they won’t be able to make informed decisions when it comes to safe application usage. This applies not only in terms of ensuring they’re aware of risks related to malware and other security threats, but also educating them on what data can be accessed by others. Therefore, regularly educate your users on various security and privacy topics using various digital channels.
Mobile applications are becoming more ubiquitous in today’s connected world, with the number of application users increasing rapidly. It is important to keep in mind that as the number of applications grows, so do the security threats. A vulnerable application can jeopardize an organization’s sensitive information and can result in severe consequences such as privacy leaks, data and identity theft, reputation loss, business and trust loss, etc. Therefore, businesses and app developers must leverage modern application security standards and application security best practices to maximize the safety of the end users as well as count on experts like Build38 to develop security features to protect consumer apps from mobile threats and risks.
Interested to learn more about mobile security and how our company can offer you a complete and trustworthy solution? Get in touch with us today!