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Guide to Mobile App Security

Mobile app security trends and standards are constantly changing. Learn about the latest best practice - Mobile Identity

June 27 2019

Last year, one of the largest industries today - the mobile app market - turned 10 years old. Every day, more than 12 million developers around the world are creating mobile apps in hopes of their app being THE ONE to reach billions of smartphone users. New apps, updates, and improvements to existing ones are being launched daily - with everyone looking for a way to get their piece of the cake and create the next best app in the world.

Smartphones have become pocket-sized computers that allow us to do everything we used to do on our laptops or desktops - sometimes even more - on the go. For anything that comes to our minds - from watching our favorite shows, playing video games remotely, or connecting to our friends and family through multiple channels - there's undoubtedly an app somewhere in the market, and the future looks promising.

So, what can go wrong? 

The risk that comes with using mobile apps

Unfortunately, all of these apps have become a target for cybercriminals. The risk is even higher if the app is connected to business brands. Criminals are often looking to profit from companies and employees using an app that doesn't have a proper app security process.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as the threats become even greater when you realize that more than a quarter of smartphone owners don't even use a screen lock, or any other security feature to access their smartphone.

Then, there’s the even more significant number of users that don't update their apps or operating system when needed - creating exploitable vulnerabilities right there in their pockets.

Our smartphones have become such an integral part of our daily lives, and naturally, we download apps thinking and expecting them to be safe and secure - especially when well-known institutions and relevant sources stand behind them.

Having all of this in mind, a few questions come into play – How secure is mobile communication? How safe is it for us to pay bills using a smartphone or to buy an item from an online store?

When we start using a new app, we need to somehow prove that we are the people we say we are. Then, thanks to number portability, your mobile phone number became an integral identifier connected to you for the rest of your life - and no one can fake this... or can they?

The answer to all of these questions is not a simple yes or no. By using additional layers of security, you enhance the safety of your users and your business.

2FA – The first item on the mobile app security checklist

The most common way to secure users and confirm their identity is through 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication).

The process is well known to businesses and users - after registering/logging in, users receive a real-time OTP (one-time PIN) over SMS, email, automated voice messages, or any other channel, and need to enter it into the app to proceed. The real-time delivery is a crucial part of this process, your business, and the user’s experience.

Example of a bank sending a verification code to authenticate an app user
Click the image to expand the 2FA process

 

Why 2FA is just the beginning of Mobile App Protection

The most common issue with 2FA is that sometimes the OTP cannot be delivered – for reasons like the phone being turned off or the storage being full.

Although an inconvenience, this is the most benign reason behind a failed PIN delivery or an incomplete registration.

The problem occurs when someone else knows your phone number and that someone is a cybercriminal that will devote a lot of time and resources to stop at nothing but to try and penetrate the extra layer of security that 2FA offers.

The next step in Mobile App Security Standards

Mobile Identity is an emerging verification method and the latest solution in mobile app security trends. It provides real-time verification of users’ phone numbers and ensures a smooth and unobtrusive user experience.

Mobile Identity processes data from Mobile Network Operators such as:   

  • Mobile phone number (MSISDN) 
  • First name 
  • Last name 
  • Address 

This data is used to authenticate and identify users at each step of the customer journey - protecting both your app and your users in real-time.

The thing that makes Mobile Identity stand out is that it offers superior mobile app protection without any disruption to user experience. This is no small feature as all recent surveys and research show that a bad mobile experience makes users less engaged with the brand - or in some cases, prevents them from being engaged at all. 

Example of authenticating an app user in one step with mobile identity
Click the image to expand the Mobile Identity process

 

Increase Your Mobile App Security

Learn more about Mobile Identity