Mobile app vulnerabilities

Mobile applications are evolving with newer purposes and are becoming key to businesses across industries. However most of them still remain vulnerable to attacks. This stems from the reason that either there aren’t efficient development practices applied or the developers are unaware of the underlying threats to the entire concept in itself. Listed below are some of the key mobile app vulnerabilities that we must be aware of:

  1. Ineffective data storage: One of the primary reason that leads to this factor is that the much needed confidential data is not stored safely on the device. It must be understood that devices are easy to hack, tamper and along with it goes the security of the mobile application. SQLite databases make it convenient to store such data on the phone apart from the regular text and XML formats. If the sensitive data is not encrypted properly not only at device level but must also have encryptions for external sources it can easily misused.
  2. Poor authentication controls: Authorization is as crucial as authentication to keep the mobile apps secure and in control. Even though these factors are server dependant it is sensible to avoid device identifiers in mobile apps as devices can manipulated to any extent. Explicit access permissions and user approvals must be in place so that only the authorised users can access the app data. Manipulation of these apps can lead to extreme scenarios such as loss of personal data for users. Hence authentication is crucial.
  3. Insufficient encryption: TLS/SSL encryption backed with security specific algorithms can save crucial data. Even the third party connections must be encrypted or warning messages must be curated so that users are aware of the lack of encryption. A careful analysis of the mobile app and common standards of encryption must usually protect the sensitive data of the users to the possible extent.
  4. Sync issues: When mobile applications are utilised to synchronise the data from the device to the cloud data emanation is the common concern. Vulnerability exists even between application programming interfaces that are used to sync data between devices and external services. The user is exposed to security problems without even knowing the underlying side effects. This is applicable to even when organisations have well-placed security policies that lead to best possible practices available in the industry.
  5. Inefficient server controls: Any unreliable input to a backend API service or traditional web / mobile apps can act as a potential threat. Even though emphasis on client-side controls is higher the best defence mechanism comes from having server side controls to mobile services. Testing a mobile app like a normal web application will cover the exposure to this threat. Malicious codes exist in various components that are used to build the mobile apps and hence the threat is always dispersed.

Even though these are some of the prominent vulnerabilities there are few more to add to the list such as Client side injection, Broken cryptography, Lack of binary protection and others. In the next blog we will cover the security issues in Cloud Access.