We live in an era of incredible mobile and technology progression across the globe. The rates of growth of mobiles are exceeding humans in a few parts of the world. Along with mobiles, there is a rapid elevation of apps too. The best facet of mobile phones is the convenience they offer to customers for any chore such as shopping, banking, etc. wherever they are.
The boost in the development of mobiles was convenient but customers also need to pause a moment to understand the security risks. Bank data, user credentials, and lot more details are flown across various devices and backend systems across the globe. OWASP top 10 mobile helps in identifying security issues that all face.
What is OWASP?
OWASP or open web application security project is an online community, who are professionals in security. Their key intention is to raise awareness regarding software security and application. To elevate the level of knowledge of security enthusiasts, OWASP has developed several community-run open-source projects. They provide free documentation, learning materials, and tools that assist in developing secure mobile and web applications.
Each year OWASP releases reports that mention the top 10 mobile and web application security risks, prevailing documents of awareness for application security that are a security threat to apps. The security list is solely on the data gathered from consultants and vendors throughout the year. They are further analysis and research, narrowing down to the most severe and common vulnerabilities present. Let’s peek through OWASP top 10 mobile risks.
OWASP top 10 mobile risks
- Improper platform usage: This risk includes failure in utilizing platform security controls or misusing platform features. Failure to utilize such features exposes your app to attacks. This vulnerability as per OWASP is easily exploitable and common. The usual attack vector in this scenario is visible to API. It is hence important to follow guidelines and rules to make sure if platform features are in use appropriately. Also during the development of API, following the common best practices is advisable.
- Insecure data storage: Weaknesses that lead to leaking of personal information and offer access to hackers. There is great variation in the attack vector, where third-party apps play a role utilizing cookies, caches, and other details to collect secured data and also physically attain the device and observe data. Hence handling data security needs multiple ways such as encryption, authentication, and accurate handling of cache features.
- Insecure communication: This happens as communication is sent in clear text and insecure methodologies. To prevent insecure communication, the best way is by detailed verification of data, encryption, employment of TLS/SSL, and averting self-signing certificates. OWASP also advises additional encryption to data before sending it.
- Insecure authentication: In this threat, there is the exploitation of authentication vulnerabilities utilizing automated attacks through custom-built or available tools. Insecure authentication leads to reputational damage, informational theft, and unauthorized data access. This is overcome by using online authentication and the process of complete authentication requests on the server-side. Another recommendation would be reinforcing authentication server-side and also complete local integrity checks to detect unauthorized code variations.
- Insufficient cryptography: This Occurs where the cryptography tried was in some way inadequate. This may be due to the use of an outmoded cryptographic algorithm or a custom written vulnerable algorithm. To avert this it is important to follow the best standards and practices in cryptography.
- Insecure authorization: This is usually the failure of servers to perfectly enforce permissions and identity as per the mobile app. This vulnerability is hard to detect and common too. To end the insecure authorization issue, checking the user rights on the server-side is mandatory. It is advisable to verify requests from clients to make sure they are reliable users.
- Client code quality: In this case, the vulnerabilities are on the rise due to coding mistakes. It is crucial to know that no code is perfect and wrongdoers find such faults, exploit them, and gain entry. Few examples are memory leaks, buffer overflows, etc. While permitting buffer overflow through testing opens the way for wrongdoers to take control of the whole map resulting in control over the device and private data theft. The best tip is maintaining constant coding standards throughout and also to write easy code.
- Code tampering: Hackers pick out code tampering over others as they gain unconcealed access to the user behavior, the app, and the device too. They urge users to download tampered versions of familiar apps through misleading advertisements and phishing attacks. The perfect way to battle this risk is by using root and jailbreak detection and anti-tampering techniques.
- Reverse engineering: perpetrators utilize reverse engineering to gather information for exploiting security vulnerabilities and to decrypt data. It is mandatory to protect back-end server general workings and encryption algorithm data used. The best way to handle reverse engineering is by using tools to obfuscate the tools.
- Extraneous functionality: There are hidden security controls or back doors developed by developers which they do not plan for release. It is usual for the hacker to look for such extraneous functionality and find hidden functionalities in back end systems. Such functionalities offer hackers to gain complete control over the app. A developer account is one such feature that results in bypassing security checks and offers privileges. These vulnerabilities are simple to detect and eradicate. The only way is to check if no test code is built-in in the final development of the app.
The present OWASP top 10 mobile security list is wide-ranging and advanced. The reality is that the cybersecurity landscape keeps fluctuating. These comprehensive security solutions for iOS and Android guard them against the OWASP top 10 mobile threats. Hope these risks help you concentrate more on mobile application security. Developers gain an opportunity to understand these threats in developing and protecting apps, data, and users. Checking the application for the above risks and bearing them in mind at times of development is vital.