With the changing landscape, it becomes indispensable for a business to find new ways to reach a larger audience. All the brands out there are always on the hunt for new opportunities. And with so much competition on both the global and local level, how can something be as crucial as mobile apps.

As per a report, there are over six billion smartphone users worldwide. And on average, users spent 4 hours and 48 minutes on mobile apps. Since brands have always tried to reach where customers are already present, none of the companies will be left app-less. This might be the reason why every day, thousands of apps are being added to the Google Play Store.

With so much usage and engagement, there is no surprise mobile apps have sensitive data of the company and user like name, phone number, bank accounts, and much more. But such type of data can be a heaven for hackers, especially when the app’s security isn’t that good.

In the year 2019, 43% of the organizations sacrificed mobile app security, while security-related loopholes were found in 38% of iOS apps and 43% of Android apps. The most common reason for this is the carelessness from the organizations as 74% of data breaches on mobile apps were simply a result of the weak security systems.

Companies must remember that a single breach on the mobile app doesn’t only cost millions of dollars, but it can result in a much more significant loss for the company. This is why security should always be on the top of the priority list, right from the beginning of writing coding. But are there any measures that can be adopted to reduce security risks on mobile apps? Let’s find out.
4 Common Mobile App Security Threats
1.Weak server-side controls
All the mobile apps have a client-server architecture. The Client-side refers to everything on the website displayed to the end-user. In contrast, server-side relates to the programs and operations running on the server, and they interact with each other with the help of APIs. Below-average security on the server-side can turn out to be one of the biggest security threats for mobile apps.
2. Below average security for data storage
Another app security loophole that hackers can misuse is insecure data storage. Almost half of the organizations ignore data security in the rush of launching an app.
3. Missing input validation
Input validation is the process of accessing input data to make sure that the input is properly formed while thwarting malformed data from attacking the mobile app. But when the mobile app is not designed to validate the input properly, it increases the risk of a hacker injecting malicious data input and getting access to vital information stored in the mobile app.
4. Security issues in the code
The common security issue in most mobile apps’ is a code-related security issue. And when companies are using a manual code review system, such security risks can take years to detect. This means that your mobile app will have the loophole widely opened for the hackers for an entire year, and it will also act as an invitation for malicious attacks.
What can hackers possibly do with an insecure mobile app?
While the possibilities are limitless, here are some common things done by perpetrators of the online world whenever they spot a mobile app with a long list of vulnerabilities;

  • Steal the personal information of the customer for identity theft
  • Inject dangerous malware in the mobile app and then access store keystrokes, passwords, and much more
    Copy the entire coding of the mobile app and then use reverse-engineering to build a spoof app containing a built-in cyber-attack system
    Gain access to the IP and then affect the entire back-end network of your company
    Get their hands on private business assets and intellectual property.

What can a company do to hone the security system of their mobile apps?
While the possibilities are limitless, here are some common things done by perpetrators of the online world whenever they spot a mobile app with a long list of vulnerabilities;
Adopt a system of strong authentication system

In the wake of the fact that a significant portion of cyber attacks on mobile apps results from weak authentication systems, it has become increasingly crucial for businesses to focus on improving the authentication system.

In layman language, authentication includes using passwords and other private information to restrict unauthorized access. Someone can argue that a significant portion of the authentication depends on the users. Still, at the same time, the developers can motivate the users to be more sensitive towards the authentication process.

Developers can design their software to accept only strong passwords, including upper case letters, lower case letters, alphanumeric characters, and much more. In addition to this, developers can also incorporate a two-factor authentication system to level up the security.

Encryption of the source code
When it comes to native mobile apps, then a significant portion of the code remains on the client-side, and because of this, it becomes easy for mobile malware to track the loopholes and bugs within the design and the source code of the app.

Since attackers keep honing their skills, they are now repacking famous apps in the rogue app by using the power of reverse-engineering. After this, they usually upload the rogue apps in the app stores to entice the unsuspected users.

Vulnerabilities like this can take your organization’s reputation and profit downhill. This is why developers should always be wary of such loopholes while working on the initial stage of app development. They can even use tools to identify such security issues while ensuring that the app is robust enough to avoid such kinds of tampering.

The ideal approach developers can adopt to mitigate this risk is to encrypt the source code. This approach ensures unreadability and keeps such attacks at bay.

Use of anti-tampering protection

With code-hardening, one can surely keep the SDKs and application safe from static analysis and tampering. Still, by incorporating anti-tampering protection in the mobile app, the developers can keep the app safe against modifications of the app’s behavior and function at runtime.

The best thing about anti-tampering protection is it keeps tabs on the app. And therefore, it covers the entire spectrum of runtime threats and attacks. It doesn’t matter how smart the hacker is; he will not be able to breach into the system.

In addition to this, the anti-tampering protection reacts to threats and attacks in an automated manner for both the app and the environment. This is why anti-tampering protection is usually considered a self-contained protection system.

Removal of such types of attacks through an automated system improves the app’s security and reduces the burden on the development team. Thus they can focus on improving the mobile app experience.

Incorporate cryptographic technique
Cryptography is the most potent weapon developers have for keeping user data safe. The main motive of cryptography is to offer data integrity, confidentiality, and authenticity without any interruption. Here is what these three aspects handled by cryptography deal with;

Data integrity- Consistency of data and identification of both tampering and modification of data
Confidentiality- Use of encryption for keeping the user data secure
Authenticity- Makes sure that information always comes from an authorized source

But you can’t just rehash cryptography algorithms as even the popular cryptography algorithms like SHA1 and MD5 cannot match the pace with the changing security landscape. This is why one should always remain updated with the latest security algorithms.

If possible, developers should use more effective encryption methods like SHA-256 for hashing, 256-bit encryption, AES, and much more. In addition to this, one should never procrastinate manual penetration testing and threat modeling.

Keep the back-end secure

As discussed at the outset of the article, most apps run on a client-server mechanism. Still, this type of mobile app architecture demands better security management for staying safe against malicious attacks on the back-end server.

The biggest misconception that developers have is that only the mobile app that has been coded to access the API can access it. A competent developer will always verify all the APIs in accordance with the mobile platform he is planning to code for.

This becomes more important when you consider that both the transport mechanism and the authentication of API can easily shift from one platform to another. Therefore, the mobile app will be at risk of attacks without a secure back-end.

Containerization is the most common method used by developers to secure the back-end. In this approach, both the documents and the data are stored in encrypted and highly safe containers.

Make testing a continuous process

Keeping your mobile app security is a never-ending process. Therefore, you should never assume that your app will stay secure for eternity once all the security measures are deployed. The shift in the technological landscape and the honing of skills by hackers keep evolving the security requirements of mobile apps.

For tackling this issue, one should make testing mobile apps a part of continuous operation in the firm. A smart firm eager to keep its mobile app secure always invests in emulators, threat modeling, and even in penetration testing.

While investing and implementing these testing models, one should also fix the issues with every update and issue patches whenever necessary.

Make authorized APIs compulsory

All the APIs that are not authorized act as an invitation for hackers. Even the APIs that are not appropriately coded can give an advantage to the hacker and provoke them to launch an attack on your mobile app.

For example, local authorization of caching information makes reusing the information a breeze for the developers, especially when making API calls. Also, it helps the coders when they are working on the API.
But such an approach creates a wide loophole for the hackers, and they can take advantage of this ‘easy route’ chosen by the programmers and coders. To avoid this, API should always be authorized centrally for maximum security.

The increasing number of cyberattacks is becoming a big concern. Since hackers are no longer confined to desktop only, companies need to adopt a new model to deal with the threat on mobile platforms in the form of mobile app security risk.

From financial loss to loss of trust among users, a breach in the mobile app can result in a disaster for any company. Therefore, companies should step up and start implementing the best possible security measures for providing 360 degrees security to mobile app users.


Enabling high-security protocols and strategies will help you safeguard your mobile app from potential threats and hacking. Adopting the strategies mentioned above make it virtually impossible for a hacker to retrieve your and your customer’s data. It’s best to keep a tab of the latest tools and techniques revolving around cybersecurity.

You can also take the help of mobile app security experts and mobile app development companies to keep your mobile app safe. However, choosing an experienced security expert is very critical.

If you are also looking for a cybersecurity expert or a mobile app development company, Saffron Tech is a one-stop solution to all your problems. With our unparalleled strategies and methodologies, we will help you create an app that will enhance your user’s experience while protecting your data.