- Mobile app development and security - an obstacle or a must?
- Why is keeping mobile application security standards so important?
- How we provide professional teams with high awareness and experience in security
"We have to push it to production. No time for advanced security!" Do you know this approach? Well, it's been out of date for a long time now.
Thursday evening, long after 5:00 PM. A group of developers gathers around the table to talk about... security. This workshop is one of many initiatives to ensure equal awareness of security challenges, especially in mobile applications. We share peer-to-peer knowledge so that everyone knows how to code to make apps impervious to hacker attacks.
In this article, we will share what we know about mobile security and why we think it is a crucial issue in app development.
Mobile app development and security - an obstacle or a must?
In the process of creating mobile applications, the result should be:
- Building a well-designed app with a complete set of features on time.
- Meeting an appropriate level of security that will make the application safe for users.
In the past, there were occasions when the security teams and developers didn't get along, which was the subject of various iconic industry jokes. Nowadays, it's rare to find devs who find security unnecessary or delaying.
At Order Group, from the very beginning of the organization's existence, we wanted to deliver highly secure projects. We strongly believe that app development shouldn't come at the expense of security. And because our development teams are very conscious of this matter, planned user stories automatically include these requirements.
It especially applies in projects where the main task is to ensure the highest level of privacy, security, and impermeability.
Why is keeping mobile application security standards so important?
Some businesses rely entirely on the popularity and success of their mobile applications. But what if such an app is a victim of an attack or data leak? The organization then risks not only losing popularity or a decrease in social trust but also exposing its users' data to direct threat.
That is why the security of mobile applications is so important.
According to this summary, seventy-one percent of all fraudulent transactions are performed in mobile apps or browsers. And even if we consider only the mobile world, the numbers still speak for themselves. For example, in 2021, approximately 24,000 malicious mobile applications were blocked every day (full report here).
So how to ensure the security of the application from the development stage? Let's start by explaining what we mean by mobile app security.
What exactly is mobile app security?
Mobile app security is all activities undertaken by a company at the stage of development and maintenance of the application, aimed at protection against malicious activities, such as fraud, data leakage, or malware injection.
In mobile applications, the dangers may lurk:
- on the server-side,
- in data storage,
- during data exchange in insufficient TLS (Transport Layer Security),
- on the client-side, for example, via an exposed smartphone,
- as a result of incomplete implementation of security solutions in the application,
- in poor logging and monitoring,
- in inadequately secured sensitive data.
To prevent such vulnerabilities, you must consider the risk from the very beginning. And that's what the field of mobile app security is for.
3 examples of famous mobile app hacks in 2021
Years 2020 and 2021, due to the global pandemic and the extremely dynamic development of mobile technologies, were particularly abundant in hacker attacks.
To name a few:
- Slack Mobile App - data breach resulted in exposing users' data from a mobile Android app (Slack has over 12 million daily users),
- Klarna Payment App - the disclosure of users' balances has exposed not only their data but also their financial security,
- Canadian COVID Passport App - sensitive data of 650,000 users was exposed and available directly in the application as text to be found by anyone.
According to the 2021 DBIR (Data Breach Investigations Report) by Verizon, one in four companies experienced a mobile or IoT data breach. And this is quite a striking result.
Secure mobile apps - benefits for the businesses
The easiest way is to scare what may happen as a result of an ineffective mobile security app. For example:
- significant loss of revenue,
- a sudden, huge drop in the number of users,
- privacy lawsuits,
- bad reputation,
- failures in subsequent investment rounds.
But that might as well be the result of just lousy product management. So maybe let's take a closer look at the benefits of providing a high-security level of mobile solutions.
- It brings the comfort of security and thus the trust and loyalty of users towards your brand.
- Users are more willing to participate in voluntary data sharing, e.g., newsletters or opinion polls - after all, they already trust you.
- Your app is reliable not only to the users but also to the investors.
Okay, but the question remains, how to ensure security if you use the services of a software house to achieve your goals. We suggest choosing a partner for whom resistance to malware is also vital.
So how do we make sure that our teams are well prepared to develop applications with the highest level of security?
How we provide professional teams with high awareness and experience in security
We ensure the security of mobile applications thanks to the continuous improvement of our development teams.
Already at the recruitment stage, we check the candidate's coding skills as well as their communication and other soft skills. We make sure that the new person fits well in the team, thanks to which we have really highly-skilled, independent people who also get along well with each other. In addition, we always pay special attention to software security awareness, which is also present in our every design process. Our teams are very harmonious with the focus on security, and therefore our projects are just as consistent.
Projects differ significantly in terms of what we deliver to the client. Sometimes it is just the people as part of body leasing. Another time, we are to provide comprehensive product development or implement agile IT project management processes. We always try to define well which competencies the client needs from us to meet the requirements with flying colors.
The key is that the client can also independently verify the devs provided by us, for example, by conducting an additional interview. Thanks to constant communication between the client and the Order Group, we know how the project is going, and we respond to any emerging needs.
We take care of substantive preparation of our team thanks to continuous training and supervision of experienced tech leads.
Experience in mobile security opens doors
Thanks to this approach, we had the opportunity to participate in one of the most comprehensive projects in the cybersecurity industry.
With RAW Cyber, a Polish company in the cybersecurity industry, we have created an entirely new operating system for an ultra-secure smartphone.
Go to the RAW Cyber case study to find out more about the project.
And if you haven't had enough of reading yet, go to our next article on secure applications: How to Secure Sensitive Data in Mobile Applications.