Arxan’s 2014 State of Mobile App Security report updates previous years’ indicators on the prevalence of hacked apps on the two major platforms (iOS and Android). The findings of increased app hacking is especially noteworthy amidst today’s rapid growth in global mobile app usage. Free app downloads are forecasted to increase at a rate of 99% to reach 253 billion downloads in 2017, and paid app downloads are projected to reach almost 15 billion, a 33% increase by 2017.1 This explosion in app usage is seen across all verticals and led by apps running on the Android mobile operating system, which continues to dominate with 85% market share.2 The report, which comes on the heels of a number of recent mobile application-based attacks, such as WireLurker and Masque, highlights the imminent and growing need for mobile applications to contain self-protections. Key findings from the 2014 report include:
- Top 100 Paid Apps and Popular Free Apps reveal widespread hacking
- Applications with high-risk profiles running on any mobile platform should be made tamper-resistant and capable of defending themselves and detecting threats at runtime.
- All applications should be developed to maintain the confidentiality of the application/code.
- The software that is used to enable mobile wallets/payment apps (e.g., Host Card Emulation software) should be protected with secure crypto and app hardening.
- Organizations should consider mobile app assessments to assess if existing apps are exposed to risks that are unique to mobile environments. Also, as part of the mobile app development lifecycle, organizations should conduct Penetration Tests that, among other things, should assess vulnerability to reverse engineering and tampering that can result from unprotected binary code.
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______________________________________________________________ 1 Number of mobile apps downloads worldwide statistics, Statista
3 Stop Protecting Your Apps; It’s Time for Apps to Protect Themselves, Gartner Maverick* Research, Joseph Feiman, 25 September 2014