For mobile application security experts, ensuring the security of mobile devices and mobile applications is a top priority. However, developers and mobile users still have room to improve in the field of mobile application security as the threats landscape is growing larger by the day. While the end user can take some steps in order to protect sensitive data on their device, such as avoiding unprotected public Wi-Fi and setting up multi-factor authentication - for developers, a more complex task lies ahead.
Cyberattacks today are highly sophisticated and demand constant monitoring due to a large number of unknown or emerging threats. Such threats require additional attention in order to develop a detection and prevention solution that will hinder the attacker's chances of making further progress. So, the keywords that need to be in mind are a proactive approach to mobile application security, as well as staying vigilant in order to suppress emerging threats efficiently.
2023 Mobile Application Security Trends
Understanding the critical need for businesses and app owners to prioritize mobile application security is key. Both individuals and organizations are being targeted and have fallen victim to data breaches, malware, and other malicious attacks, resulting in significant losses, including financial and reputational damage.
Building secure mobile applications is an additional step in a customer-centric approach that has the security of the end user as well as your business in mind. By moving mobile application security left within the SDLC, you're contributing to a proactive approach that results in efficient protection - opposed to just putting a bandaid on an uncovered vulnerability with a hotfix. As business and app owners, the responsibility of mobile application security lies in your hands – to help you understand the landscape, continue reading, and get insight into the latest mobile application security trends for 2023.
1. Third-party app stores are turning heads and raising security questions
Speculation about third-party app stores being available on both Android and iOS devices is most certainly an issue in the context of mobile application security. The first thing that comes to mind is the level of regulation and scrutiny that third-party app stores would definitely lack in comparison to the official App Store and Google Play Store. Secondly, the uncontrolled distribution of potentially malicious apps would grow exponentially larger with the increase of available third-party app stores. Moreover, if in fact, the downloaded app does not initially carry any malicious intent, the security-related updates and patches wouldn't happen as often as it is the case with the official app stores.
2. Jailbreak/root detection is nice to have, but not as relevant
Tightly connected to the previous mobile application security trend, jailbreak and root detection will gradually lose their significance. For starters, regardless of third-party app stores, users jailbreak/root their devices for a number of reasons, some of them not being malicious. In such cases, applying jailbreak/root detection would only get in the way of a smooth user experience. The mobile app would simply crash and interrupt the end user. However, if third-party app stores become a standard practice, jailbreak/root detection would prove to be useless since modded or insufficiently regulated apps would be automatically available for download. Lastly, today's reverse engineering capabilities are sophisticated enough to bypass jailbreak/root detection. This either means turning to more advanced jailbreak/root detection tools or entirely switching the security perspective elsewhere.
3. Mobile appsec community will play a big role
Among mobile application security trends, there is the strengthening of the community by providing the stakeholders with security best practices and possibly tighter regulation. Advocates (among which are App Defence Alliance and Google) are directing the community towards OWASP, an organization providing free resources regarding mobile app security best practices. Also, OWASP restructured its MASVS (Mobile Application Security Verification Standard), highlighting how critical it is to integrate mobile security testing throughout the entire software development lifecycle. As of right now, there are no strict regulations surrounding the mobile application security environment outside the financial sector. However, the adoption of OWASP-issued best practices is a first step towards a standardized approach.
4. Proactive mobile application security is key
Last on our mobile application security trends list is the necessity for implementing a proactive approach. The current trends toward a higher security standard for mobile applications is pushing developers to prioritize cybersecurity best practices throughout the entire application development process – rather than an add-on. Adopting DevSecOps principles is key for defending against the growing threat of mobile attacks. However, the adoption requires both structural and cultural changes in how the team operates. From a change in tools and processes, the outlook on mobile application security must also include the unknown. This means that the upcoming mobile application security mechanisms need the capacity to prevent the known as well as predict the unknown. In addition to implementing real-time protection and prevention mechanisms, continuous pentesting is advised to become a standard practice that is performed during the development period rather than applying it to the finished product.
App Protector by ASEE
App Protector is a mobile application security mechanism specifically designed with mobile application security in mind, seamlessly integrating with the mobile app's runtime environment. The solution contains powerful features that detect and prevent fraud at an early stage and protect against real-time attacks. With App Protector, you have complete control over the execution of your application, ensuring that it stays safe from a variety of threats, including emulator attacks, jailbreak/root detection, debugging, screen recording, and hooking attacks.
eBook: Mobile application security toolkit
Learn more about mobile security threats landscape and what are the three key pillars of anti-tampering for mobile. A detailed look at code obfuscation, integrity checking and Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP).
To find out more about our App Protector solution, contact us or visit our blog section.