4 mobile app security threats all developers must face

Mobile application development requires software teams to configure multitudes of communication and component layers in order to function properly. Unfortunately, each layer a developer adds to a mobile app increases the attack surface and opens new intrusion points. As such, development teams that do not properly secure each layer of their mobile apps and services risk compromising business-critical data, user safety and device control.

The important thing to remember is how many of these vulnerabilities reside in the application code itself. Whether an organization has a dedicated security team or not, developers play a crucial role when it comes to protecting these mobile applications — not just in terms of patching them, but implementing strategies that actually monitor and proactively address potential threats.

This article will help developers understand more about their role in mobile security efforts by examining four of the most common — but extremely dangerous — mobile app security threats. We also examine the particular tooling, practices and coding standards that act as the remedies for each one of these threats. 

Code injection

Code injection occurs when an attacker adds malicious code through a GUI, data connection point or other vector that provides access to application code. For example, consider if a login form field does not have any proper input validation, such as value restrictions. This presents an opportunity for a hacker to easily enter any character or even a JavaScript code snippet to compromise user data.

To prevent this, it’s important to stick to the following guidelines:

  • Adhere to strict coding guidelines that help eliminate potential mobile app security threats, such as proper separation between business and technical exceptions.
  • Carefully identify input sources and apply proper input validation techniques, such as specified variable types, standard encoding schemes and targeted penetration testing.
  • Ensure that it is difficult to reverse engineer code by using source code analysis tools like Quick Android Review Kit (QARK).

Client-side storage and data leakage

Mobile apps typically need to access — or transfer — data from…