The mobile device industry continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Statistics show that, today, over 5 billion people have mobile devices and there are over 9.2 billion mobile connections worldwide. Add to these statistics the fact that the number of consumers who shop and bank online continues to grow as well–presenting hackers with increasing numbers of mobile applications and end-points to target. As developers of software that protect mobile apps from reverse engineering and hacking, at Guardsquare we have a unique purview into the mobility space, and therefore have some pertinent 2020 predictions for the mobile industry.
Mobile Payments Apps on the Rise
As consumers’ comfort with, and reliance on, personal technology increases, we expect to see purchases via mobile payment apps grow rapidly throughout 2020. Great news for the global economy, but the downside of this trend is it will serve to exacerbate opportunities for hackers to take advantage of mobile applications and devices that are not properly secured.
Fake Apps Abound
Fake apps or hidden apps have historically been a problem and we don’t see that changing any time soon. In December of last year alone, almost 65,000 new fake apps were detected among the various app stores, and we expect this to become increasingly common and problematic. Consumers need to be alert when downloading new apps and developers should be wary that fake apps can negatively affect their own reputation and their company’s.
Developers Beware Kotlin’s Hidden Vulnerabilities
The new development language, Kotlin, is catching on now that it has been designated Google’s preferred language for Android development. However, many developers using the language still do not fully understand security best practices, including how to protect Kotlin code against OWASP’s well-known Mobile Top 10 risks. As with many apps written in Java, apps written using Kotlin must be protected against both static and dynamic attacks using a combination of code hardening and RASP.
iOS Is Vulnerable Too
We believe that 2020 will be the year in which awareness increases around the security shortfalls of iOS. Many application developers still believe iOS apps are virtually immune to reverse engineering, but, in reality, all iOS versions have already been jail-broken at some point. We anticipate developers will take better security measures to ensure the integrity of their apps by employing a multi-layered approach to security to ensure the protection of their iOS applications.
We continue to see the more sensitive an organization’s data, the more likely it is the mobile app will become a target for hackers. According to OWASP’s Mobile Top 10, reverse-engineering and tampering ranked the eighth and ninth most prevalent mobile security risks. Verizon’s Mobile Security Index 2019 highlights that more than 80% of organizations said they are at risk from mobile security threats, and 69% said those risks increased in the last year.
It is our hope that, in 2020, all apps—but especially apps housing sensitive customer data—evolve from going unprotected to incorporating key security measures that protect the users and the organizations.
Want to learn more about what to expect in 2020? Join us Jan. 23 for our Predict 2020 Virtual Summit featuring discussions from some of the industry’s best and brightest offering up their visions for the future. Sign up today for this free daylong virtual event.