What is mobile application security?
Mobile app security is the measure and means of defending mobile device apps from digital fraud in the form of malware, hacking, and other criminal manipulation. Mobile app security can be implemented by both technological means alongside personal responses and corporate processes intended to safeguard digital integrity on mobile devices.
Why Does This Matter to Our Company?
Few people and few businesses go throughout the day without engaging with a dozen different mobile apps, many of these offered by national and international brands for one service or customer satisfaction element or another. Weight loss, picture taking, financial management, social networking, and general entertainment…the apps on our mobile devices do practically everything.
They even run our companies. They handle our budgets and employee software (and much more).
The Threat of Mobile Apps
However, mobile apps are a major channel for security threats, especially when they are connected to business brands. These are often targeted by criminal elements seeking to profit from companies and employees who use mobile devices but do not engage in proper mobile app security processes.
When a mobile application is compromised by malware or a device user downloads an unauthorized rogue app that isn’t actually officially launched, they stand a high risk of being a victim of digital fraud. This includes…
- Their financial login credentials being stolen
- Their credit card details stolen and resold
- Giving hackers access to their business networks
- Wholesale identity theft
- Their device being used to spread malware to uninfected devices
- Having TXT or SMS messages copied and scanned for private info
And these are just some of the more common or currently popular scams and schemes in play with mobile apps. When this occurs, the consequences can be severe, including:
- Negative end-user experiences
- Negative, potentially permanent impact on the brand’s reputation
- Ongoing financial losses
Have You Checked Your Apps Lately?
Unfortunately, with how popular mobile apps are, many people download a new app without doing due diligence to ensure it’s actually a legitimate offering instead of a trojan horse or brand impersonation.
According to modern surveys and studies, 33% of organizations have never even tested the mobile applications they developed for potential security vulnerabilities.
40% of organizations, including some Fortune 500, didn’t take active steps to protect their customers they’re developing the apps for.
Only 50% of these same organizations dedicate any resources toward mobile app security. And the most recent reports indicate that up to 95% of mobile applications are vulnerable in some critical fashion.
Mobile Application Security Best Practices
How do you take steps to defend your brand and your employees from the threat posed by mobile app security fraud and online attacks?
1. Enact Digital Security Training –Educate your employees about the risk mobile apps can present. Teach them how to recognize potential attacks, malware sites, and phishing attempts, and put proper response procedures in place.
2. Proactively Monitor for Rogue Apps –Keep an eye on both legitimate and unauthorized app download platforms for any apps that carry your brand name, logo, or messaging, that may have been posted to lure in unsuspecting customers. Get any rogue apps taken down ASAP.
3. Only Download from Trusted Sources –Provide both your employees and customers with a list of verified app download sites, and even then, suggest high caution whenever downloading a new app, and the reporting of any suspicious activity.
4. Improve Data Security –Establish a brand-specific data security strategy and a policy that enforces the active compiling and resolving all possible data breaches. Have your development or IT team implement solid encryption whenever data is transferred between any devices.
5. Avoid Saving Passwords – Does an app require a login with a username and password? Discourage the use of apps that save passwords on your system or in the cloud, as these can allow the private credentials to be harvested and used to hack other devices or networks.
6. Force User Session End – Never let a user’s session to remain active after they’ve logged out or closed your app. Require them to close the session on every logout and require them to log back in to regain access. Also, after a predetermined inactivity period, log out the user for extra safety.
7. Go Beyond Anti-Malware – Many mobile app security resources primarily scan devices for known malware and alert the user with the option to remove anything found. While this is an excellent precaution, your corporate digital security measures should not stop here. Incorporate encryption routines, behavioral analysis tools, traffic monitoring, and more.
8. Invest in Mobile App Security Services –Your team can only do so much to get the best mobile app security. To further your defensive strength, you can also engage a mobile app security suite that handles much of the app monitoring, data analysis, and rogue app takedown for you.
Bonus Tip: Perform regular security testing!
Online fraud is constantly evolving, and the methods that your company is capable of protecting itself from may already be outdated and replaced by more sophisticated strategies and technologies. Take the time to regularly test your apps for vulnerabilities, never rush development or patches, and monitor malware and mobile app news to stay in-the-know of the most current threats.
FraudWatch International monitors for rogue mobile apps abusing a client’s brands. We monitor official mobile app stores, directories, third party mobile app stores and file sharing sites on the internet. Our comprehensive mobile app solution provides monitoring and detection of potential unauthorized mobile app(s), and our security team initiates the takedown process for its removal.
Ready to invest in your brand’s app security? Find your solution with FraudWatch International today!