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Ensuring Mobile App Security in the Age of Hyperconnectivity

In 2021, the hyperconnectivity market was valued at $319.4 billion. By 2031, it’s expected to expand to a value of $2.2 trillion. In fact, according to Forbes, the motto of the future is “anything that can be connected will be connected.” 

From a user standpoint, this hyperconnectivity seems like a great thing. Users have information at their fingertips. Advertisements are personalized to their needs. Collaboration can happen from anywhere. And services and resources are accessible in new ways. 

From a cybersecurity standpoint, on the other hand, hyperconnectivity presents major challenges. With data being exchanged continuously, the attack surface becomes larger all the time. Keeping up with these evolving security vulnerabilities becomes a never-ending battle. 

The best way to keep applications secure is to take proactive security measures. Read on to learn more about what mobile app security looks like in today’s digital landscape. 

Ensuring Mobile App Security in the Age of Hyperconnectivity image1

📱 Understanding the Mobile App Landscape

Mobile apps are relatively easy to make, cost-effective, and in demand. In fact, research shows that many users prefer apps over websites. But the result is that the mobile app market is oversaturated. The wellness industry alone boasts over 10,000 applications.  There are few regulations regarding mobile app creation. As a result, these apps vary widely in both usability and security. Consumers may not know this, but they may be using insecure apps already. As they grow used to the personalization and convenience that comes from hyperconnectivity, they come to expect it from all apps. 

The result is that you have to offer hyperconnectivity to stay competitive in the current mobile app landscape. However, hyperconnectivity has its drawbacks. The more avenues of connection you offer, the larger the attack surface is. This expanding attack surface can leave your app vulnerable to attacks. Implementing comprehensive security measures is the only way to effectively address this evolving threat landscape. 

Key Threats to Mobile App Security

There are more than a billion mobile app security breaches each year. The most common breaches (around 60%) are caused by hacking or unauthorized access. 

The biggest risk to mobile app security is the expanding attack surface. As hyperconnectivity becomes the norm, mobile apps can become increasingly vulnerable to threats, including:

  • Malware attacks
  • Data leakage
  • Rooting or jailbreaking
  • Unsafe third-party components
  • Insecure network communication

These threats can be compounded if app developers don’t follow security best practices. Weak server-side controls, for example, or improper application monitoring can cause security issues to spiral. Unfortunately, the trend to push products out quickly can lead to app developers cutting corners. Companies may choose to take on technical debt to make apps profitable in the short term. This can come at the expense of long-term application security. 

📖 Best Practices for Mobile App Security

Mobile app security breaches are not a victimless crime. Depending on the type of data your app collects, security breaches could have real-world implications for your customers. At a minimum, you’re likely to lose customer trust if you have to report a security breach. Research shows that 74% of customers “would significantly or fundamentally lose trust” in a company if it had a security breach. 

If you create apps for specific industries, such as the healthcare industry or the educational sector, the implications of a data breach could be even more significant. 

To prevent the loss of customer trust and potential liability issues, it’s a good idea to spend time implementing mobile app security best practices. These best practices should help secure the expanding attack surface. Top mobile app security best practices include: 

  • Secure Coding: Use secure coding practices throughout the development process. A tight code can prevent common vulnerabilities, including injection attacks, buffer overflows, and cross-site scripting (XSS).
  • Encryption: Use strong encryption algorithms to protect sensitive data. When considering hyperconnectivity, remember that you need to encrypt data stored on the device as well as data that’s being transmitted.
  • Authentication and Authorization: Use authentication measures to verify user identities. Ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive features and data.
  • Session Management: Implement techniques to protect user sessions and prevent session hijacking or fixation attacks. Use unique session tokens, enforce session timeouts, and validate session identifiers to keep sessions secure. 
  • Regular Security Updates: Keep the mobile app up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. Review and update libraries, frameworks, and third-party components on a regular schedule.
  • Security Testing: Conduct comprehensive security testing throughout the development lifecycle. This should include static code analysis, dynamic application testing, and penetration testing. Identifying and solving security vulnerabilities early in the development process can minimize risks later on.

The Role of Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

Static application security testing (SAST) is one form of early security testing development teams can leverage to improve applications before launch. This form of testing is especially helpful because it identifies security vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the source code of an application without you having to execute the code first. This makes it a great first step any time your team makes a change to application codes. 

SAST has two major benefits. The first is that it tests software code before the code goes to launch. This allows teams to address potential vulnerabilities as early as possible — before there are any real-world repercussions. The second benefit of SAST is that it helps developers become more mindful of code vulnerabilities during the development process. This can help lead to more secure code down the road as well. 

⚙️ Securing the Expanding Attack Surface is Key to Modern App Security

The key to modern app security lies in expanding application reinforcements. With the attack surface getting larger every day, security measures need to become more robust as well. Developers need a comprehensive security strategy that includes a strong SAST platform, frequent testing, and continual education on new and emerging cyber threats. End-to-end security platforms like Kiuwan can empower your team, helping you identify and remediate vulnerabilities throughout the development process. Learn more about Kiuwan and begin scanning your code for vulnerabilities today.

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