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How to Ensure Mobile App Security

Mobile phones have become our primary computer and are not exempt from cyber attacks. For this reason, when looking for an experienced team to build your app, it is essential to discuss and be aware of the importance of cybersecurity.

Given the prevalence, if not inevitability, of cyberattacks, companies need to create a strategy to address prevention as much as response. Adopting new technologies also comes with accountability as building a safe system requires the protection of the users’ and company’s information privacy. There are different ways an attacker might try to cause harm. This blog post is focused on discussing how to prevent cyber attacks from happening with simple practices that, even though are well-known, there are still accountability gaps that must be addressed when getting a mobile app developed.

Best Practices to Follow

1. Adopt a Culture of Responsibility

Start with your own company and devices by assessing cybersecurity vulnerability. A study from 2016 called “The Accountability Gap: Cybersecurity & Building a Culture of Responsibility,”  found a worrying gap between presumed and actual corporate readiness for data security incidents and a widespread lack of accountability at the top levels of organizations. That means that even some of the world’s largest networks, holding some of our most valuable data, are more vulnerable than their leaders believe. Among the most susceptible companies, 98% of those business leaders are not confident their organization can monitor all devices and users at all times, which means information is travelling through unknown places. This is alarming! Moreover, 90% of respondents could be categorized as medium-to-high risk for a cybersecurity incident, and 40 percent of respondents admitted that they didn’t feel responsible for the repercussions of a cyber attack. Although the study is from 3 years ago, we are still learning about serious cybersecurity breaches happening in big organizations and even in the government all over the world. A good example is a recent case where hackers are targeting phones of Brazil’s President and the economy minister.

If you’re starting a new security program, create your own policies and procedures. It is crucial to make sure all your staff is aware of the risks because everybody in the organization has a responsibility when getting access to the company’s data and devices. The trend of employees bringing their own devices to work has offered freedom to workplace design, but at what cost? If that’s your case, here are some tips for security best practices when employees use their own devices for work tasks (BYOD). Furthermore, put in place policies and procedures.

2. Be Transparent

As protection goes both ways, first of all, let your users know what information your app would access or upload, and for what purpose. You can do that by having a clear Privacy Policy describing how information from end-users visiting/using the web app/mobile app is managed. Moreover, notify users and obtain consent for any large data consuming app activities because you don’t want to kill their battery either their trust on you.

3. Formulate a Mobile Security Strategy

First of all, make sure your developers are adopting security as an approach from the very beginning of the project by assuming that all mobile devices using the app are insecure and hackers can easily capture the data flowing to and from your app. You’re not overly paranoid; you’re in 2019.

4. Mobile Device Management

Each mobile operating system requires a different approach for its security, whether it is an iOS or an Android system. Consider encryption methods to keep data safe and get first level security for your mobile app. Furthermore, always make use of the latest security mechanism provided by the mobile platform to protect user credentials.

5. User Authentication

Authentication is such an integral part of most mobile app architectures that understanding its typical implementations is necessary. By setting up strong user authentication and authorization, you can easily prevent fraudulent access. However,  there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. With the help of a team of high-skilled developers, you can find what fits best your app requirements keeping in mind that implementing authentication may be necessary, however, a second authentication factor is not always appropriate. Consider two-factor authentication based on the risk assessment of the mobile app, especially if you need to process sensitive or financial transactions.

6. Test the Security of Your App

Hire a professional team to play the fake bad guys considering the consequences that will occur if a security breach occurs. That’s the best way to learn how to prevent it from happening if you have already followed all the best practices listed above.

Mobile apps are subject to similar security considerations and risks as other software applications. At Vog, due to different use cases, usage patterns and mobile platforms, we also take note of the remote web services, platform integration issues and insecurity of mobile devices when building any app. Our team is focused on developing secure mobile apps by adopting best practices and acquiring in-depth knowledge of the newest trends and threats the software development industry has been facing. If you want to learn more about it, here is a Mobile Security Guide that may be helpful. However, it is easier and faster to contact us here to book a meeting and discuss what we can do to help you out.

 

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