8 Things to Ensure Mobile App Security

The ubiquity of mobile applications has helped more people use the internet and spawned new enterprises to ride the digital wave that was unthinkable a decade ago. Think of any service you can access through your mobile device. So, whether you’re booking an airline or train ticket, paying your utility bills, playing online games, buying merchandise, transferring money, engaging in social interactions, or booking a hotel room, your tiny device appears to have saturated the entire world. According to statistics, there are more internet-linked mobile devices in the world (7.94 billion) than people.

However, not everything is hunky-dory in the world of mobile applications. When critical personal information is connected to some of these applications (read banking and financial apps), how can the prying eyes of cybercriminals be far away? According to www.digitalinformationworld.com, mobile networks are responsible for approximately 93 percent of malware attacks. In addition, according to a study conducted by High-Tech Bridge, a Swiss-based web security firm, approximately 70% of companies on the Financial Times 500 list have access to the dark web. This is mainly due to weak access control measures and authentication being employed in such companies.


These harrowing statistics highlight the critical importance of ensuring the security of all mobile applications, particularly those carrying sensitive personal and financial information. Let us discuss a checklist of security measures that mobile testing services should implement.

Mobile App Security

8 steps to ensure Mobile App Security

With mobile apps becoming the prime target of cybercriminals, enterprises should take steps to safeguard the security of their apps and ensure their end-customers are not taken for a ride. The following eight steps to enforce mobile testing and achieve hacker-free applications are:

#1 Source code encryption: Given that a majority of the code in native mobile apps is on the client side, cybercriminals can easily detect the vulnerabilities in them using mobile malware. Thereafter, the genuine apps are repacked into malicious apps using reverse engineering techniques and uploaded into third-party app stores to lure unsuspecting users. This is enough to smash the brand equity of reputed companies, as unsuspecting users tend to believe that genuine apps are to be blamed for tampering with their data. So, developers should make sure the apps are tamper-proof and protected from reverse engineering attacks. Here, encrypting the source code can go a long way towards protecting your app from such attacks. Any mobile app security testing process should check for source code encryption to foster greater security for the app.

#2 Perform penetration testing: Follow the good practice of randomly testing the security of your mobile applications against security scenarios by conducting penetration testing, also know as pen testing. The simulated attacks as part of pen testing by mobile testing services can help detect (and fix) any security risks or vulnerabilities. These loopholes, if left undetected, can become potential threats to the security of your apps.

#3 Secure the data in transit: When the data contained in your mobile app is transmitted from the client to the server, it is vulnerable to threat actors. To protect such data against data theft, it is advisable to use a VPN or SSL tunnel.

#4 Secure the backend: The mobile applications interact with each other through APIs, which are vulnerable to attacks. The ways to strengthen the security of APIs include embedding an API gateway, using authorized APIs in the code, conducting code reviews, adding a firewall, using API keys, and using 2-factor authentication and tokens, among others.

#5 High-level authentication: The mobile apps should be designed in such a way that they accept strong alphanumeric passwords with a provision to change their passwords periodically. For sensitive apps like banking, biometric authentication using retina scans or fingerprints can be introduced. Users must be encouraged to ensure authentication to avoid security breaches.


#6 Use of cryptography techniques: It is important to use advanced encryption techniques such as AES with 256-bit and 512-bit encryption and SHA-256 for hashing. Besides, any mobile application testing strategy should include manual penetration testing and threat modelling before being deployed.

#7 Impose access control policies: The mobile application testing approach should check if the app uses secure frameworks and libraries. The mobile app should align with the compliance policies of Google and Apple’s app stores.

#8 Minimise confidential data storage: It is best practice to avoid storing confidential data in order to reduce security risks. However, should there be no option but to do so, it is better to use a key chain or encrypted data containers. Also, incorporate an auto-delete feature into the app log that deletes data automatically after a certain time.


The threat of cybercriminals attacking your app is real. Sensitive user and/or business information can be secured only by following a robust mobile application testing approach. Testing mobile applications should not be an afterthought but done on a priority basis to increase customer trust, market adoption, and revenue.

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About the Author


Hemanth Kumar Yamjala has 10+ years of experience in IT Services, predominantly Marketing, Branding, specializing in Digital. Currently a part of the marketing for Cigniti Technologies with functions such as leveraging digital marketing channels for lead generation and promotion.
Find out more about @hemanth-yamjala

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