The Biggest Risks to Mobile Apps Security
Mobile apps serve as a convenient means for businesses to approach their customers. However, this convenient feature adds an additional responsibility for the organizations to manage user data security. For this, they have to be vigilant towards the security and integrity of their mobile apps. The dilemma of our society, however, is that businesses usually don’t care much about app security. According to a technology report by Arxan, at least 2 out of the 10 surveyed apps were vulnerable to the ten major security risks mentioned in OWASP’s report. Even now, despite frequent incidents of security breaches and app hacks, companies are ignorant towards allocating sufficient budget for app security. Here we shed light on some of the biggest risks to mobile apps security for the businesses to ponder over.
Unprotected Data Storage
Unsecure data storage is one of the most common security risks to mobile apps. The developers usually rely on client storage, ignoring the fact that the storage isn’t a sandbox environment immune to security breaches. In fact, anyone having physical access to the mobile can easily access and manipulate this data as well. Some of the possible consequences of such an event include policy violation (PCI), identity theft, and reputation damage.
Weak Server-Side Controls
While one can ensure adequate security by applying common security practices, such as using VPNs on routers to protect the entire network, like Huawei VPN, these measures still lag behind when it comes to protecting the mobile applications. These apps are even vulnerable to security threats over the internet or from other applications. One such vulnerability is weak server-side control. All communications between the app and the user take place through a server. When the developers neglect security servers, they expose mobiles apps to security risks. This may happen intentionally or unintentionally due to various factors, such as small budget, insufficient knowledge of a new language regarding security, excessive dependence on the mobile operating system for security, hurry to market the app, or errors arising because of cross-platform development and compilation.
Inadvertent Data Exposure
This includes all those vulnerabilities that skip a developer’s attention, or arise randomly at later stages, and result in data leakage. The data exposure may happen due to OS vulnerabilities, or any security bugs in the framework outside of the developer’s control. This is different from insecure data storage in that the later is in the knowledge and control of the developer, and thus, is completely avoidable. Whereas, insecure data leakage is not always preventable.
Another common issue threatening the security of mobile apps is broken cryptography. This may arise due to improper implementation of a cryptography protocol, use of insecure algorithms, increased dependence on built-in encryption, or using custom protocols with poor understanding. Broken cryptography may let an adversary exploit the vulnerabilities thereby accessing the sensitive stored data.