Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How to Avoid the Mobile Security Risks Associated with Financial and Health Apps

Health and financial mobile apps have gained questionable credibility regarding the level of security incorporated in their technologies. 

According to Info Security Magazine, consumer confidence appears to be inversely proportional to the level of security integrated in these mobile apps.

The latest Arxan Technologies reports show that the doubts over the security of health and financial apps somewhat negate their success. In the study conducted, it revealed that majority of application users and application executives surveyed feel adequately secure about their mobile applications. 

About 82 percent of these executives believe everything is being done to protect their apps, while only 57 percent of application users do.

Risks from Security Threats Still Abound

However, the reality of security threats is evident among 126 most popular mobile health and finance apps tested in the U.S, U.K, Japan and Germany. It was found out that 90 percent possessed at least two of the Open Web Application Security risks. 

Such risks may include lack of binary code protection which accounted for 98 percent of the mobile apps; while about 84 percent of mobile apps tested had poor transport layer protection.

Being vulnerable to such threats may result in tampered devices, violations of privacy, binary code modification and even identity theft.

Certain questions arise regarding the use of such apps including clients or patients entrusting classified information over an unsecured data platform. 

There are also questions about financial apps running the risk of identity theft through mobile or electronic banking transactions. 

According to a tech blog expert, today’s viruses do not compare to traditional viruses that IT specialists can easily detect. Rather, they are dominated by android adware and SMS Trojans. 

However, even with the unimaginable rate of unsafe mobile apps, users can still find ways to avoid dealing with them. 

As a step towards finding suitable solutions to counter these vulnerabilities, IT policies on vetting apps can be enhanced and users should be equipped with the knowledge of the potential security risks from using such apps. 

Stay Away From Unofficial Third-Party App Stores

Users can also steer clear from unofficial third-party app stores, and stick with legitimate Android installing apps like Google Play. Users can also be cautious of malware threats disguised in app permissions and ad blockers. 

Requested app permissions, even seemingly-legit and lengthy ones, are usually used by intrusive apps to target users because they have become accustomed to such features. In the end, users can be led to allow permission access without being aware that they clicked on a malware.

There are also cases that even ad blockers become malware targets. Similar with app permissions, clicking on malware disguised as ad blockers increase security risks However, not all mobile apps encounter problems regarding ad blockers that can potentially threaten security. 

According to Born2Invest co-founder Dominique Einhorn, ad blockers only affect mobile apps that utilize outdated mobile advertising modes such as pop-up ads.

Being in the highly downloaded list of Google Play’s business and financial news app, Born2Invest is aware of these impending threats, which is why it focuses on delivering native ads rather than interstitial ads. 

However, Einhorn knows that at the end of the day, good editorial content still matters.

The need for security update to constantly identify potential attacks can work wonders. Even those taken for granted certifications on websites help validate authenticity of download sites. 

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