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Which Approach Is The Best To Test Aggregator Mobile Apps?

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By Author: Diya Jones
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The advent of 3G or 4G enabled smartphones and the running of sophisticated mobile apps on them have virtually changed the consumer behaviour globally. The behaviour, underpinned on factors like convenience, speed, cost savings, privacy, and security provided by the mobile apps (Android and iOS based,) has led to a spurt in the development of such apps. If numbers are to be believed then out of five billion mobile users globally, the total mobile apps downloaded equalled 2.6 million and 2.2 million across Android and iOS platforms in the first quarter of 2019 (Source: businessofapps.com.)

The popularity of mobile apps has largely been attributed to the usage of aggregator apps, which pull, show, and interact with content sourced from various locations. The examples can be cited that of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Flipboard, among others. Since the APIs of these apps interact with numerous content sources, there is every likelihood of them becoming the conduits for malware. Moreover, many of these apps incorporate the digital payment feature, which helps customers to conduct financial transactions on the go. However, notwithstanding the benefits of using such aggregator apps integrated with the digital payment feature, the spectre of cyber threat looms large. As more number of app makers try to feed into this huge demand for apps, ensuring their security has become the primary concern. Let us understand the top security threats that can befall any aggregator mobile app and how mobile application security testing can pre-empt the same.

Top security threats to aggregator mobile apps

The propensity of people to use aggregator mobile apps in the workplace or other places has exposed such apps to hacking. As no digital device can claim to be 100% secure and hackers always on the lookout to compromise a device, the role of application security testing becomes prominent.

1. Unsecured Wi-Fi connection: One of the biggest security threats is in using unsecured Wi-Fi connections at public places like airports, bookstores, coffee shops etc. As the number of smartphones connecting the endpoints at workplaces increases, hackers get a goldmine of opportunities to compromise enterprises by leveraging the vulnerabilities of mobile apps. However, in spite of the warnings, people continue to use such unsecured networks and subject themselves to cyber attacks. A robust mobile application security testing can plug vulnerabilities that hackers may exploit when people use apps to connect to their workplaces.
2. Built-in malicious codes: As aggregator apps source information from multiple locations using APIs, not all APIs or locations can claim to be secure. Many unsecured apps may contain malicious strains of malware, which upon usage, can allow hackers to siphon off sensitive data and information on a platter. Such mobile security threats can be prevented by downloading apps from official app stores. Besides, the apps contained in the apps stores should have undergone stringent end-to-end
mobile application security testing
.
3. OS vulnerabilities: Smartphone manufacturers continually update the operating software to incorporate features, functionalities, and technologies. This is mainly to obtain a better system performance, a key determinant in achieving user satisfaction. Importantly, users often do not update the operating systems of their aggregator mobile apps thus leaving them vulnerable to cyber attacks. To ensure the mobile apps remain secure against any emerging security threats, their operating systems must be updated. Also, should their mobile devices do not remain compatible with the latest version of the operating system, it is better to get a new one.

The best approach to testing the security of aggregator mobile apps
Once your aggregator mobile app accepts personal data from the user, it becomes your responsibility to safeguard the same. This calls for conducting rigorous software application security testing to identify and plug vulnerabilities and protect data breaches. The best security practices or approaches any enterprise can take to secure its mobile app are:

• Simulating attacks on the app systems to assess their vulnerabilities and strengths.
• Analyzing internal controls to identify the presence of potential malware.
• Assessing and monitoring the APIs to identify any security flaws.
• Evaluating the risks through security threat modeling and building a mobile application testing strategy based on parameters such as threat sources, attack interface, expected attacks, business impact, and disaster management to nullify them.
• Undertaking the collaborative approach of DevSecOps to turn security testing into a continuous activity throughout the SDLC and beyond. DevSecOps introduces security factors early on in the development cycle. It helps to cut down vulnerabilities and security risks, and ensures the management and other stakeholders are in sync with the overall business objectives.

Conclusion

The rising scare of cybersecurity threats has led businesses to adopt stringent mobile app security testing. By incorporating an approach like DevSecOps where every sinew of the organization is tasked with ensuring the security of an aggregator mobile application, the vulnerabilities and risks intrinsic to the system can be promptly identified and acted upon. Businesses should ensure that the shortening of development lifecycles as brought about by DevOps and Agile, should not let mobile app security testing take a back seat.

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