3 Security Threats Putting Your App at Risk

December 14, 2021 - 7 minutes read

As a result of the global pandemic, online scams have spiked by more than
400% making cybersecurity a rapidly growing concern among businesses and developers alike. In fact, a recent study projects that businesses will spend more than $170.4 billion on security in 2022. And yet, cybercrime still costs businesses collectively over $2.9 million every minute, with major businesses losing up to $25 every minute as a result of data breaches. 

To serve our Austin community, we dedicate immense resources and time investment to thrive in these new cutting-edge technologies. With the help of Dogtown Media, you no longer need to rely on internal resources to get the job done. Partnering with us means you have a trusted advisor in your corner who is an expert in all things development.

Why is this? With all of the money spent on cyber defense, you would think that cybercrime would be on a steady decline. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. And, there isn’t a simple explanation for this as there are a plethora of factors that play into the inflation of cybercrime. There are, however, several common security mistakes that online hackers exploit in order to steal and expose sensitive information. 

Throughout this article, we will be discussing three of the most common cybersecurity mistakes made by application developers that often lead to the exposure of confidential user information. As a mobile developer, it’s crucial to be aware of these mistakes in order to institute the proper mitigation tactics and protect your users’ data. Read on to learn how you can protect your next mobile app from imminent cyber-attacks. 

An Inadequate Approach to Security

Let’s think about it – do you suspect that Google, the smartest search engine that we all know and love, uses an end all be all security approach that refrains from constantly monitoring vulnerabilities and adapting to mitigate them? Or, do you think Google’s security strategy consists of layers upon layers of security and shifts based on the discovery of new vulnerabilities? Yep, you guessed it! Any approach to cybersecurity should always involve multiple layers of defense and be updated based on newly discovered vulnerabilities within a network or system. 

Unfortunately, inadequate defense and vulnerability protection are quite common in the application development industry. And, mistakes in vulnerability protection often lead to devastating security issues that can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your application. Needless to say, layered defense strategies and vulnerability protection must become an integral component throughout the development of your application. 

As we discussed previously, keeping your users’ data and privacy safe should be of utmost importance when developing a mobile app. In other words, by integrating a “living” security strategy you will be able to monitor vulnerabilities, create security patches, and update the application’s framework to help prevent attacks and breaches launched against your mobile app.

Weak Encryption

Have you ever opened an email and noticed a warning message that said, “
the sender did not encrypt this message”? If so, you probably realized that the email was either spam, or that the sender failed to keep the information on the email private. In either case, the failure to encrypt an email, or any transmitted data for that matter, is a vital flaw that hackers prey on. By failing to convert digital information into unrecognizable code, hackers are granted easy access to the content of the transmitted data. 

Unfortunately, data stored and/or transmitted on mobile applications is highly targeted by malicious entities due to developers often failing to use acceptable encryption within their apps. Therefore, when developing a mobile application it’s critical that you integrate adequate encryption strategies, as weak encryption can increase the risk of cyberattacks such as “man-in-the-middle” attacks or sniffing attacks. 

Taking the time to properly address encryption is one of the most effective ways to increase the protection of your users’ data and ensure your users’ privacy.

Poor Authentication Protocol

The third security mistake that app developers often make is integrating poor authentication protocol within their app. What is authentication? To put it in simple terms, authentication is the factor used to verify the identity of a person, such as a username and password. Unfortunately, application developers (and developers in general) often fail to realize the severity of adequate authentication protocols, such as strong passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA), resulting in compromised user accounts and confidential information exposure. 

Now, depending on the industry that your application is intended for, you may be required to follow specific guidelines to protect user information. For instance, an mHealth application that stores and transfers medical information would be required to comply with HIPAA standards to uphold a sense of confidentiality, integrity, and availability for patients. Similarly, an application that accepts and stores payment information would be required to comply with the PCI DSS requirements.

Therefore, the optimization of authentication should be a primary consideration of your security strategy as you begin to develop your next mobile app. Don’t let substandard password requirements or the absence of MFA allow your application to become the next victim of a data breach. 

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