Mobile App Security Awareness
The era of smart phones has started. Today almost everything can be done through a pocket size mobile phone. The trend of mobile phone applications is becoming common day by day. There’s an app for almost every task. There are apps to text, apps to call, apps to video call, apps to find jobs, apps to find employees, apps to find paths, apps to learn languages, apps to share pictures and videos, apps to locate and apps to be located, apps to book restraints and apps to save notes. Everything that people used to do manually can now be done with the help of mobile phone applications. What used to take hours is now a matter of a few touches. The mobile phone applications are surely no less than a helping hand to human beings. However, as they say all good things cost a price this helping hand has a price too.
Mobile phone users usually use online app distributors like Apple’s app store or Google’s play store. Recent surveys have suggested that more than 50% of the apps downloaded from these distributors were hacked. This is an alarming signal to not only the mobile app users but to the producers too. It is the biggest threat to the privacy of mobile app users of today. Both the consumers and producers have to take precautionary measures to ensure the protection and security of the user’s data.
Why is Mobile Application Security Required?
Before we come to the issues of mobile security apps and how to solve them, we must consider how dangerous can the problem be to us. If our favourite texting or calling applications get hacked, it means the hacker gets record of everything we say and do. Moreover the threat to mobile apps also implies that our personal data including our pictures and videos is in danger. Anyone can make the wrong use of your personal data. Hacking the emailing apps means hacking your accounts and stealing your money. Note that you can actually be tracked through these applications, which means that even your life is in danger if your mobile data is not secure. Hence it is very important for your mobile data to be protected. Every mobile phone user must be aware of the mobile app security issues, precautionary measures to take to protect the data and the possible solutions to the problems.
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Mobile Application Security Issues and their Solutions:
Here are some common mobile app security issues with their possible solutions.
Build a Secure Application
Malicious code is a serious security threat to the mobile apps. Hackers create copies of the original paid apps and upload them on third party sites. The data of the person who installs and runs the app from that third party source goes directly to the hacker. Usually hackers do this public copying trick with the paid apps by uploading them for free. Anyone would prefer a free app over a paid one. Hence users end up installing apps from third party sources rather than the original ones which results in data privacy problems and hacking.
Hackers generally place the malicious code into the apps. Resultantly anyone who installs the apps ends up exposing all private data to them. Generally this data includes credit card accounts and financial information of individuals and private information including conversions of intelligence agency agents or politicians. The hackers then use this data either to get money out of the users’ accounts or to sell the information to other people.
Producers and developers of mobile security apps must take the necessary steps to build secure apps. The use of source code scanning tools can help the apps become secure. Moreover the code from third party apps must always be analyzed. Additionally users should avoid installing apps from third party sources and keep antivirus and anti-malware apps installed in their smart phones all the time.
Securing the Device
Often the user gives permission to the device to install apps from unknown sources and third party applications without asking for further permission from the user. Normally this option is set by default in most of the devices. Such devices have no restrictions to installation of apps that are dangerous to the system and are called jail broken or rooted devices. Rooted devices are the least secure devices and hence the most prone to security threats and hacking. However, with the idea of jailbreak technology a jailbreak would be needed to install unauthorized apps.
The unauthorized apps must be resisted from accessing sensitive or personal data especially if the device is jail broken or rooted. Necessary steps must be taken to cope up with the mechanism of rooted devices. Moreover steps should be taken to make the apps aware of the risks. Furthermore, users’ should also take precautionary steps by not allowing unauthorized apps or giving permission to the device to install from unknown sources.
Data Loss and Leakage
Usually users use the same device for both private and professional affairs. Using the same device to access business data and personal data is another threat to the mobile app security. Data usually remains stored on the device. If the device is lost or shared with a non business individual, the data maybe lost or leaked.
With the help of remote wipe features the administrators or the business owners can directly command the device to delete data. The business firms must take use of the remote wipe feature to delete business data from the devices of the employees whenever there’s a complaint of theft or data leakage. It is wise to restrict the business data from being shared with the non business individuals or apps.
Restricting the Suspicious Transactions
Most hackers hack to make money. Whenever a user makes online transaction or withdraws money his details including time, amount of withdrawal and place should be taken into account. If anything seems suspicious, for instance if the user is withdrawing from a different place than usual or if he’s withdrawing all the amount present in his account then such transaction should be restricted and checked before being executed.
If we take the precautionary steps then there’s absolutely no threat to our data. We can always enjoy using the apps without any threat but a little care is always better than a bigger trouble.
So let’s identify the most important aspects that every app developer should take into account.