Hey, you! Yes, you! What if I told you that 75% of the apps on your phone failed in a basic security test. Horrified? Well, you should be. Gone are the days when the phones were used only for calling and texting. This is the generation of ‘Smartphones’ and they are called smart for a reason. But as everything goes in the life, the negative is always attached to the positive and these mini-computers are no different.
According to a survey by Flurry, users spend 90% of their time on apps. This fact alone should be sufficient for you to take the mobile app security seriously. Still, don’t believe me? Let me give you some shocking (to say the least!) facts on mobile security.
If these facts don’t push you to secure your smartphone, NOTHING EVER WILL.
- 95% of the world’s 100 top E-Commerce websites fail the basic security testing.
- All top 100 paid android apps were hacked in 2013.
- 87% of the top 100 paid apps on Apple iOS were hacked.
- Only 5-7% of popular apps contain advanced-level protection to fight against hacking attempts.
Now that you are (hopefully) serious about protecting that smart looking thing of yours, let’s get started. Here are the six vital steps by which you can secure mobile app and make your smartphone as strong as THE HULK (well, not exactly).
1. Download the Apps from Reliable Sources Only
If you are an android user, you have the privilege to download apps from everywhere, unlike the iOS users. The thing about android is that anybody can create an app & make it accessible to the public. This can be a boon as well as a bane. This provides an easy platform for the hackers and fraudsters to spread malicious software. One single click and Bam!! Entire data of your phone might be gone in the blink of an eye. Therefore, we strongly suggest you not to download from unauthorized, 3rd party sources. As far as the Apple users are concerned, we recommend downloading popular apps as it has got some credibility in its bag.
2. Secure the Code
The App developers have the most substantial role to play when it comes to the Mobile App Security. As they are the ones who created it, it is their job to make sure that the application code is safe & secure for millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, ‘Launch it today, we’ll check it tomorrow.’ has been their attitude in the times of such a fierce competition. They should reverse engineer the codes of the app before publicizing it.
3. Do not Jailbreak or Root your Device
Just because something is legal doesn’t mean that it should be correct. This is precisely the case with Jailbreaking and Rooting. It might seem like a good idea for all the razzmatazz but effectively, it is a way of bypassing the security system of your device. On jailbreaking or rooting your device, all the apps get full access to your phone and ultimately it all boils down to the creator of the app. If you download the wrong app, you’re screwed. Big time. Hence don’t try to root or jailbreak your device and let your smartphone remain like an innocent child.
4. Use Code Signing Certificates
Code Signing Certificates are of great importance when it comes to securing the mobile apps. A code signing certificate establishes by means of authentication of the author and verification of the app code. If an app is signed by a certificate authority (CA), it means that the app has been published by the same developer and it hasn’t been tampered by anyone. Consequently, for the developers and publishers of the apps, a Code Signing Certificate is a must to ensure the security of their users.
5. Do not Store Sensitive Information on the Device
Saving important information on the smartphone is a convenient option as you can get it whenever you want to. But this comes with a risk. When you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, even Billy from the high school can creep into your device by watching videos on YouTube and steal some valuable information. In case of your device getting stolen or lost, it becomes impossible to get the data back. So, try to keep your sensitive data away from the phone as much as you can. And even if you store it on your device, make sure to encrypt it.
6. Keep Updating your Device
Do you know that the Android of today contains 12 million lines? Therefore, it is virtually impossible for any OS or an App to be flawless for the first time. It is bound to have some bugs in it. This is why the developers keep rolling out new updates every other day. Next time you get an update, don’t reject it.
There are around 2.1 billion smartphone users worldwide and without a shadow of doubt, this number will go uphill. By 2019, the number of smartphone users is expected to be more than 5 billion. This is a massive number and it is surely going to increase the vulnerabilities. Thus, the significance of the mobile app security is surely going to grow. This intensifies the responsibilities of the app developers as well as the end users. For the mobile app industry to be safe, both the entities must go hand in hand. Without contribution by either of them, the hackers and fraudsters will have an easy game ahead of them.
And as they say, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’