3 App Security Features: Penetration Testing & More

Security is a serious concern throughout the tech world, and nowhere more so than in the mobile app ecosystem. The threat of compromised content being added to mainstream platforms is persistent, with regular purges of infected software used to stem the flow. Thankfully there are some options available to take the fight to the cybercriminals, with security features helping to minimise the issue as much as possible. Here are just a few of the big hitters doing the rounds at the moment.

Penetration Testing

This practice, which is also known as ethical hacking, can be used by businesses to work out if any of the apps they are using are susceptible to breaches. Since ethical hacking includes a number of components, of which app assessment is just one aspect, it is also a potent option for any organisation that wants to see whether its internal and external systems and devices are fit for purpose in a threat-rich environment.

Multi-factor Authentication

Passwords are often seen as a security weakness because they can be guessed if they are too common, or cracked by brute force. Apps which take advantage of multi-factor authentication to ensure that only the genuine user can access them are therefore a desirable asset. In a time when fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, face detection and other biometric means of identification are built into mobile phones, more apps are using these as a backup for affording secure access. In some cases these can even be the primary form of use validation, combined with a password or PIN. The most secure apps will include other protective authentication options, such as sending users a code via SMS to prevent malicious third parties from sneaking in undetected. It is no surprise that this market is set to be valued at over $17.76 billion within the next decade.

Secure Data Use

Apps can hoover up a lot of information during use, so it makes sense to ensure that none of this falls into the wrong hands. BetterDefend highlight there are two ways to go about this, the appropriateness of which will vary depending on the app in question. For software that needs to keep user data to hand to allow it to function, it is best to avoid keeping this locally on the device. Retaining it on a central server, where access to it can be authenticated as necessary, is an option that will appeal to many users. For apps that have no real need to retain personal information, preventing it being logged altogether makes a lot of sense. Users will appreciate if an app does not invade their privacy unnecessarily, while potential hacking problems will be avoided. Where data is kept locally, encrypting it will be a vital step. That means that even if the device falls into the wrong hands or the data it contains is siphoned off by some other means, it will not be possible for anyone else to decode the potentially valuable information. Furthermore, data security is relevant when the data is in transit, so network connectivity which is designed to be resilient is a must. With app security expectations sitting at sky-high levels, cutting corners is not advised.
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