In a relatively short period of time, mobile applications have exploded in popularity. Whereas these resources were hardly used just a few years ago, they now play a key role in millions of smartphone owners' lives. People use mobile apps for everything from checking the weather to sending email to banking and making payments on the go.
One unfortunate side effect of this trend has been the tremendous increase in mobile security threats. Cybercriminals quickly realized the potential profits to be made by targeting mobile apps which were, and are, frequently underprotected. Now, however, consumers are becoming more aware of these dangers, and therefore more wary of using unsecured mobile apps. As a result, businesses need to embrace high-quality security tools, such as static code analysis, when developing mobile apps for the public.
Highlighting this notion, Forbes recently published a list of five steps businesses should follow when developing mobile apps. The writers, Matthew Goche and Trevor Christiansen, emphasized that companies have a responsibility when it comes to offering secure mobile apps and that consumers should avoid those apps that do not meet sufficient security standards.
"As a consumer, I should be able to trust that mobile applications, especially ones that have sensitive data, have undergone sufficient security testing and evaluation," the authors wrote. "Oftentimes, speed to release trumps security evaluation and this pushes unacceptable risk onto unknowing consumers."
This prioritization can have serious consequences for businesses. If security took a backseat to speed during the development phase, user data may be at risk. If a data breach occurs, the cost of recovering from this incident will be far greater than the cost of pursuing robust, dependable app security in the first place.
"Code should be regularly scanned for security vulnerabilities during the development cycle," they wrote. "Companies that have to go back and add security after development often find that it can be more expensive."
The authors also asserted that applications should receive automatic testing as part of a build automation process.
"Using an automated build cycle and functional testing for common vulnerabilities, such as SQL Injection, Cross-site scripting and user-role permissions, provides peace of mind that the new feature has not introduced a new vulnerability along with it," they explained.
Furthermore, Goche and Christiansen highlighted the importance of searching for security gaps. They asserted that business logical testing should play a major role into all development lifecycles in order to ensure the complete security of the app.
The right tools
As this report demonstrated, application security is both critical and rather complex. There are many components that firms must take into account when pursuing these goals.
To make these efforts more likely to succeed, it is essential for firms to embrace the right tools. For example, solutions such as static code analysis can greatly improve developers' ability to identify potential security flaws and vulnerabilities in the early stages, before any damage is done.