The smartphone market is growing every year, and serious businesses (including financial institutions) are considering a major shift towards mobile and cloud computing. The idea that everything, including financial and personal information, is now accessible with just a few taps (or clicks) is outstanding, but is it safe?
According to CyberEdge Group:
“Mobile devices are perceived as the first of IT’s weakest security links, followed by social media.”
Going back our main question about security, the answer is no.
As a user, you probably have many different apps on your phone that could include Facebook, Google Maps, Yelp or games like Pokemon Go. The chances are that you are a victim of mobile insecurity and don’t even know it.
What is Mobile Insecurity?
IBM and the Ponemon Institute conducted a study that revealed some alarming facts about mobile phone and mobile applications security that they call “Mobile Insecurity.”
According to the study, nearly 40 percent of companies, including many in the Fortune 500, aren’t taking the right precautions to secure the mobile apps they build for customers.
When mobile application companies do not properly protect user information, there is always the chance of a cyberattack that will open the door for hackers to enter into the system and steal private and confidential information.
Serious information has been compromised in the past due to the lack of proper security. Remember when the U.S. Department of State shut down parts of its email system in 2015? That was no drill, but a clear security lapse.
Fortune’s detailed investigation of cyber-invasion brought Sony Pictures to its knees. For many, it was the hack of the century. No matter how Sony explains it to the world, we have to agree that it was a security breach.
This year, LinkedIn came under attack, and 117 million users’ confidential information was hacked and posted on the internet for sale.
The security lapses mentioned above made it to the news, but there have been many more that haven’t. Data breaching has become very common these days. According to Arxan Technologies, research shows that mobile cyber security attacks are continuously growing and malicious code is infecting more than 11.6 million mobile devices at any given time.
App Security Testing?
Like you, the first question that came to my mind was, “Don’t apps undergo security testing similar to that of other software before they launch?” The answer was shocking to me as well. The Ponemon research paper revealed that only 33 percent of the total company engineered apps undergo security testing. This puts customer information at risk.
According to CIO magazine, the worst part was that “50 percent of the 400 organizations in the survey aren’t devoting any dollars to mobile security.”
The use of mobile devices is growing, and in some cases mobile searches have exceeded desktop searches. The companies IBM analyzed invested $34 million on mobile development, but guess what? Only 5.5 percent of this amount was spent on mobile security.
When asked, there were many different answers, but an aggressive internal timetable and high app demand from the clients were two main reasons why companies said they had to drop security testing and launch without it.
Since we now know why apps don’t really undergo security testing, the rest of the post will discuss how to deal with the problem.
- Aggressive Internal Time Tables
Seventy-seven percent of the time, an aggressive internal timetable of app-developing companies is the reason why apps don’t undergo security testing and are released to the public without it. Here are some ways this issue can be addressed:
Project Meetings: As a startup, the pressure can be felt by all departments. But, everyone knows that quality can’t be compromised. If the internal teams, including marketing and customer service, sit together to set a release date for the app, this will make deadlines more realistic and developers will have time for security testing.
Time Tracking: Small, unproductive things we do in a day can eat up a large amount of our time. Either project managers should be hired to manage developers, or developers should track the time invested in each task. This way they will likely be able to do more in less time.
- Demand from clients
This part is relatively difficult as clients are not a part of your team, and not listening to them can hurt your business. But, I’m listing some ideas below that will help you take care of your clients smartly.
Customer relationship: The idea is to have constant communication and an ongoing relationship with your customers so that they can trust your words, instead of them making assumptions when your app faces a problem or downtime.
Explain to them why: Once you have built customer relationships, they will listen to you. This is the point when you can explain to your customers why the launch of an app or update is taking longer than expected. Webinars, email programs and quick social media interaction are some ways you can stay in touch with your clients more frequently.
How to make apps more secure?
There are many different methods by which you can make your apps more secure for users. This will allow you to stay safe from malware and hack attacks, and also secure customer information.
Secure the code:
As discussed above, malicious code is infecting more than 11.6 million mobile devices at any given time. This leads to an obvious solution: secure the code of your app so that hackers cannot reverse engineer and make a public copy for people to download and compromise their devices and information at the same time.
The idea is to run any software that can detect security flaws, or manually go through the code to close every door for hackers to enter into the app.
When mobile applications access any kind of data, related documents are often stored in the mobile device. If the device gets lost or stolen, there is a big chance of data leakage. Organizations should dive deep into “remote wipe,” especially for phones that are stolen so that the data can stay secure.
Use secure cloud:
App security is one thing, but if your servers are not secure, the chance of a hack attack, downtime and customer data leakage will always be there. The idea is to choose a partner that is always conscious about data security.
One example is Appliedi, which has a unique 7-point security approach that will keep your apps online and protected in the cloud.