The whole world has mobile device security: today, almost every company has its application. This trend is explained by the fact that the modern audience prefers convenience, likes to communicate and express their own opinion, expects prompt answers to questions, and values their time.
Mobile Device Security and its applications are exactly the tools with which companies can meet the needs of customers and get closer to them. The popularity of such programs among the audience is confirmed by statistics: in 2021, users spent 3.8 trillion hours on mobile applications – this is a record, they spent about 4.8 hours a day.
Companies are trying to keep up with the trend of application popularity and develop software at an accelerated pace. The number of mobile apps around the world is increasing every month. For example, more than 30,000 programs are published in the App Store during this period, and even more — about 100,000 — on Google Play. Focusing on efficiency, organizations often do not pay due attention to security, which reduces time-to-market. However, this upsets the balance between the reliability of digital services and their time to market. In this article, Andrey Krasovsky, Marketing Director at Swordfish Security, will take a look at how things are going with the security of Russian mobile applications today and what tools will help increase the level of software security without violating the terms of their delivery to the market.
Mobile Application Security
In the first half of 2022, the number of cyberattacks on Russian critical infrastructures increased by 1.5 times, and on companies from the financial, oil, and energy sectors – by 1.7 times, compared to the same period in 2021. The public sector, retail, the insurance industry, and the logistics sector were also hit. This trend also affected mobile applications – over the same period, the number of attacks on APIs increased by 200%.
Currently, hackers have a lot of chances to succeed. According to Stingray Technologies experts, about 70% of Russian applications have not been checked for security, while more than 80% of them have at least one vulnerability. To carry out an attack, attackers often look for weaknesses in programs and then use them to, for example, steal user data or disrupt applications.
One of the reasons for the low level of application security is that many development companies use a scheme with a single backend for mobile and web versions – this saves resources. Mobile applications are not given enough attention in terms of security, so they enter the market with a large number of vulnerabilities.
How to Reduce the Number of Errors?
Also, organizations have recently begun to use Open Source components more often, so as not to write all the code from scratch and thereby significantly save time. But this approach also has disadvantages – there may be vulnerabilities in such fragments. According to Swordfish Security, 33% of Pakistan software created based on Open Source has critical vulnerabilities. Thus, to reduce the number of errors, it is necessary to carefully check not only the new code written by the team but also the used components of the open source code.
Information Security Problems
PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is an information security standard for financial organizations that work with payment cards; OWASP MASVS (Open Web Application Security Project Mobile Application Security Verification Standard) – mobile application security standard; OWASP Mobile Top-10 is an open source project for mobile application security. Compliance with all the requirements of the standards and increasing the level of security of mobile applications without slowing down the speed of DevOps is quite possible if you follow a certain approach.
Mobile App Security Tools
To solve the problem of security in practice in a development company, it is necessary to implement an application security initiative (Application Security Initiative, abbreviated as apse Initiative). The Apse initiative involves information security tasks at various stages of the software development life cycle (Software Development Life Cycle, SDLC). The first step towards its implementation is the creation of the SSG team. This group of specialists will ensure security in the context of the development of specific company products, organize and implement developing factories for software production, and increase expertise in the field of information security in the development team.
To implement the apse initiative, the company will need special tools that will ensure the security of mobile applications. In recent years, their parameters and capabilities have improved significantly. To date, the technological stack for mobile applications includes:
Mobile Application Security
Application Security Orchestration and Correlation (ASOC) platforms that integrate MAST practices with software development tools and perform consolidation and correlation analysis of vulnerabilities discovered by MAST methods; Application protection tools that ensure safety during production operation.
Using MAST practices, you can find vulnerabilities of varying complexity in mobile applications and confirm their exploitation, as well as check programs for compliance with standards. The MAST complex includes tools that analyze the source code (SAST, OSA, SCA) and practices that work without access to the source code, scanning the finished version of the application in the production environment.
MAST practices include methods that enable automated scanning and can be seamlessly integrated with various DevOps team roles. These practices include, for example, DAST, IAST, API ST, and SAST. Using such methods, the company will be able to move to the Develops methodology, within which vulnerability scanning will be included in the CI / CD process – this will allow to secure applications at the speed of DevOps.
Problems Using Tools
ASOC class platforms have been developed to quickly integrate MAST tools into CI/CD pipelines and move from DevOps to Develops. They provide transparent real-time communication between engineering teams and security experts. ASOC solutions set up and implement security pipelines, correlate problems found using MAST tools, collect all received data and generate metrics and reports based on them.
If you use a combination of several tools from the apse technology stack with an emphasis on the transition from DevOps to Develops, this will allow you to build a high-quality and reliable process for analyzing products for vulnerabilities. The company will be able to control the security of applications in an automated mode at all stages of the software development life cycle, as well as find and fix vulnerabilities before the products enter the market. This approach can be supplemented with penetration testing. It is done in a manual format, so it cannot be automated to the level required to be integrated into the Develops process. But Pentest as a final check will allow you to consolidate the results issued by other tools. Companies often outsource penetration testing to third-party organizations that specialize in this area.
Nearly a quarter of software companies implementing security tools are organizations that have already experienced hacker attacks. The number of cybercrime in 2022 increases by 15% quarterly, and with it, the likelihood of being hit increases for every company.
A rational way out of the current situation is seen in the advanced solution to security problems. This task can be approached systematically and the apple initiative can be implemented: form an information security team, select from the technological stack of mobile applications those tools that correspond to the internal “kitchen” of the company and its products, and integrate them into the DevOps process and move on to Develops. In this way, the organization will be able to secure applications without slowing down its time to market. Of course, this approach will take time and resources to implement, but in the future, it will pay off by reducing the number of cyber threats for the company and help it avoid the financial costs of fixing vulnerabilities after the release.
There is another solution -can point-to-point implement security analysis tools in DevOps without switching to Develops. Many companies do this using custom integration – they use separate scripts, which are usually fragmented, difficult to maintain, and modernize.
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