Mobile App Security Threats To Plan For

Description :

Mobile apps continue to grow with technology. There are countless ways that apps make our lives easier—whether it be tracking our fitness progress, or improving our online shopping experience. The rapid growth in app usage around the world means that, a lot of people don’t have experience on how to protect themselves against a possible security attack. 

Mobile App Security Threats To Plan For

In 2018, 71% of fraud transactions came from mobile apps and mobile browsers. In comparison, 29% came from people using the web, which is a 16% increase year over year. Additionally, one out of every 36 mobile devices has high-risk apps installed. 

Savvy hackers don’t rely on one method to gain access to you and your users’ private data. That’s why, you must anticipate their attacks ahead of time, and design your app so that your users won’t have to worry about whether their data will be compromised. In return, this will signal to others that the business or service you provide through your app, is not only high-quality but also safe. 

Mobile App Security Threats

If a hacker can’t gain access to your precious passwords one way, don’t celebrate too early. They have an arsenal of other weapons they have at their disposal. And after they do exploit your personal information, a lot of the times you won’t even notice it until after the damage has been done. 

Here are a handful of ways that hackers will try to catch you off guard:

No Multifactor Authentication 

You’re especially vulnerable to this attack if you’re the kind of person that uses the same password across all your online accounts and apps. If a hacker is able to uncover it from one of your accounts, they will no doubt gain access to related apps you use. 

Adding an extra step to “authenticate” your account doesn’t always mean you must remember two passwords. It can also mean that you must answer a personal question, or access your account using an SMS confirmation code. 

No Proper Encryption 

Like changing the combination of a security lock, encryption puts data into an indecipherable code that can only be viewed after implementing a secure password. But everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes a developer can design an encryption code that is too easy to crack. After a hacker gains access, they can clear the encryption so that your private data is available in plain sight. 

Reverse Engineering

If your code is too easy to figure out, a hacker can take their hacking a step further and learn exactly how your app functions. They’ll know your code inside and out. And if they have a plethora of experience to draw from, they might even know more about your app than you do. 

This means a hacker can not only expose encryption, but they can modify the source code—using their knowledge to build a fake app designed to look like yours. A hacker can use this fake app to inject malware or worse to your misled users. 

Learn From Others

Mobile app hacks result in time-consuming (and expensive) data breaches. Plus, you lose the trust of your potential users as they don’t want to lose their personal data to hackers. 

Unfortunately, every day there are new cases of hackers taking advantage of a growing app or business. Learn from the mistakes of others so you can understand how to shield yourself against a potential attack. 


TimeHop was the victim of an unauthorized attack that led to a privacy breach of over 21 million users. The hack occurred in December of 2017, but it wasn’t uncovered until July 4, 2018. The attack not only led to the exploitation of TimeHop’s users, but it also led to an app crash.

And what was the main reasoning for the attack? TimeHop failed to use multifactor authentication. As a result, the hacker used the security information found from a TimeHop employee, to access the cloud of the company. 


Fornite originally released its beta version of the game using an invitation-only environment. Hackers saw this as an opportunity to produce fraudulent links to fake clone versions of the game. 

These versions of the game misled fans, because the hackers cleverly used reverse engineering to include the same loading screens, music, and images the real version used. 

It doesn’t matter if the app you use provides a business, service, or is a video game. If the code is simple to break, hackers will take advantage. 

What Can You Do?

Prevent Reverse Engineering With Obfuscation

Reverse Engineering occurs (like the Fortnite example) because of faulty code. But obfuscation and minification make the code less readable—meaning hackers won’t be able to study how your app functions to build their own. 

Validate Inputs

Remember, it’s dangerous to rely on the same password for all the apps and online services you use. A stranger can access your accounts just by knowing a single password, but when you add more validation inputs to follow, you add an additional layer of app security. 

More Tips

Who’s most vulnerable to attack? In 2018, apps in the tools and lifestyle categories made up a combined 54% of malicious mobile apps. But regardless of which category your app resides in, you can’t take your app security lightly.

Remember, some of the top ways hackers gain access to your app is because of a lack of multifactor authentication or lack of encryption practices. But staying on top of these two aspects leads to a safe and trustworthy app for your users. 

Implementing the right security protocols for your app requires intensive collaboration between your design and development team. And it doesn’t stop there, you must envision yourself as if you were in your hacker’s shoes. What other ways would you try to hack your app? If you plan several steps ahead, you can safeguard your app and focus on the success of your business

Learn more about the cases you can learn from, as well as how to make sure you’re doing multi-factor authentication or encryption the right way, by reading this infographic from CleverTap.

Mobile App Security Threats To Plan For

Source: CleverTap

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