Before even thinking as far as Mobile app security, let’s think about network security. Downloading an app that is clean and safe but under an unsafe network connection can lead to vulnerability. Consequently, misconceptions or deleting of the downloaded app may result.
According to WhatIs.com[i], Mobile app security is a protection mechanism used to ensure safety in mobile device applications. Mobile App security ensures safe communication and transactions within the mobile world. One unsafe App can lead to total exposure of a mobile device. Based on the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)[ii], most mobile application security risks lie behind the scenes (developer/server side). And yes! this is true; however, the user side’s negligence allows for even more malicious behavior further exposing users. Below is a checklist that can help ensure app security from the users’ side in no particular order:
Mobile devices enable communication between users and other apps, encrypting messages and data exchanged creates a safer environment within the app and beyond it. Users should be allowed preferences of with whom or how data is shared and who sees or uses it.
As technology advances, measures to ensure data is not stolen or captured without consent has now become a priority. Mobile apps like Instagram notify a user when a screenshot of their post is taken and other apps do not allow for saving a image that doesn’t belong to them. Likewise, other mobile apps watermark files that are downloadable with the owner’s name.
Before downloading or opening a new app,Using mobile security apps and online mobile app scanners to scan for different Malware is necessary. This provides users protection from unknowingly exposing themselves and a reduction in the chances of malicious behavior.
Passwords, PIN and fingerprint enforcement when opening or downloading apps enhance security by restricting unauthorized downloads and access to those Apps.
Always keep your Mobile Apps updated, they become less prone to attacks. Updates are also vulnerable to hijacks thus reviewing what the new updates provide or verifying with the app developers website for news on recent update releases is a necessity.
Most Apps seek permission to location, photos, contacts etc. Choosing which access, you allow is always best than allowing all. Permission rates from “never”, “always” to only while using the app”. Setting these limits allows for more control on what information a certain app can access.
Secure connections and trusted sources
Using Virtual Private networks in public network areas adds a layer of protection while downloading apps even from a known trusted source.
Many preventative measures to ensure Mobile App security are available, and the saying “smart phone, dumb user” applies to this scenario too. Where users are negligent and those controlling the smartness(developers) in the mobile devices take advantage. As users, it is tiring to check all apps to ensure safety and for that reason big words such as sniffing, spoofing and jail breaking don’t seem as scary as their effect. Therefore, many learn more threats after being victims. Prevention apps like AppScanOnline provide protection to avoid the experience of reaching victim. Our greatest loyalty falls with trusting all the App developers to ensure a secure infrastructure for mobile app users.