December 20, 2022

    Boost Your Mobile App Security Posture with AppSweep

    This blog explores:

    • Although user experience is often the primary focus for mobile application development, strong security can't be overlooked when it comes to keeping users happy. Security vulnerabilities can affect your end users, reputation, and bottom line.
    • By using a free mobile app security testing tool like AppSweep, developers can find and fix security issues within dependencies and code through actionable insights and recommendations.
    • With AppSweep’s continuous scanning, your app is far less likely to fall victim to exploitable vulnerabilities (e.g: leak of sensitive user data) that can open the way to more serious data breaches and non-compliance. The high security keeps you safe from customer churn, reputational damages, data theft, financial and loss.

    Although user experience is often the primary focus of mobile application development, strong security can't be overlooked when it comes to keeping users happy. In fact, around 45% of Android and iOS users stated they would stop using a mobile app, and encourage their friends to do the same, if the app did not protect them, their data, and their activity.

    When you compare this to the fact that less than 50% of the top apps have adequate security, it’s easy to see how security vulnerabilities can affect your end users, reputation, and bottom line.

    If your app is susceptible to attackers, you could suffer from:

    • Customer churn and distrust due to data leak or other vulnerabilities discovered by security researchers
    • Hefty fines for not staying in compliance with regulations, including data security laws and specific requirements in regulated markets like financial services and healthcare
    • Higher remediation costs than the ones usually faced during app development

    Developers and security professionals need a way to gain fast, accurate, and actionable feedback to improve their app’s security posture before real damage can occur.

    Join us as we explore and discuss Guardsquare’s AppSweep, a free mobile app security testing tool based on open-source ProGuard technology, the benefits of AppSweep, and how it could be used in a real-world scenario.

    What is AppSweep?

    By leveraging open-source ProGuard technology and decades of app development experience, AppSweep was built as a free mobile app security testing tool that enables developers to put mobile security at the forefront of the software development lifecycle.

    AppSweep helps developers find and fix security issues within your dependencies and code through actionable insights and recommendations. Internally, AppSweep is also a great way to educate and build credibility within your organization, as Its insights demonstrate how crucial mobile app security is for customer trust and data safety.

    Benefits of AppSweep

    When mobile app security challenges enter the conversation, developers often raise the following concerns:

    • Difficulty integrating security processes into product development
    • Prioritizing fast delivery over adequate security
    • Frustrating security skills gap and lack of guidance

    AppSweep is designed for developers, by developers. It does not require you to share any source code and assists in verifying your security posture against OWASP MAS requirements. AppSweep can be easily integrated into CI/CD pipelines or the developer’s IDE by using the Gradle plugin. The tool eliminates the need to manually scan apps, and everybody in the app production cycle shares the responsibility of security–no more pointing fingers!

    Applying AppSweep to your pipelines allows developers to elevate their mobile security knowledge by learning on the job. You can also easily explore your app’s scan results by navigating the application package and class structure using the same concepts from your IDE.

    Implementing AppSweep into your development lifecycle can reduce potential rework and help you release your app faster. Gaining early feedback helps reduce pentesting efforts and avoid the interruptions and context-switching that come from security testing after an incident has already occurred.

    AppSweep in the real-world

    In this use case, we focus on an organization that primarily develops mobile apps for a regulated field (banking, healthcare, etc.) and has security obligations as well as /or high-security awareness (driven by security professionals, team leads, engineers, and security-minded developers that inform themselves on security topics).

    The Challenge

    Regulated fields have the most at stake security-wise. In these fields, mobile app security vulnerabilities don’t only result in reputational and financial damages, but they also lead to regulatory sanctions. Thus, regulated fields have the ultimate motivation to adopt mobile application security testing (MAST) tools.

    Our organization of focus needed help with staying on top of ever-changing security risks, creating internal efficiencies, and balancing security with end-user usability. In a nutshell, they need apps that are secure, user-friendly, and delivered on time. Additionally, they wanted to perform routine security checks and avoid siloing security within a team at the end of the app development cycle–they wanted to shift left.

    The Solution

    Security professionals and security-aware development teams (for the sake of length, we’ll just say teams) are, on average, open-source fans. In the current case, the organization’s security and development teams were already familiar with Guardsquare’s name in the open-source community due to ProGuard’s popularity. When the security team discovered AppSweep by Guardsquare, they took an interest and decided to test the tool’s capacities with their developers to find and fix security issues fast through actionable recommendations.

    Moreover, they were looking for high-confidence and mobile-specific tests that eliminate the frustration of investigating false positives. At the same time, they were also pursuing consistent visibility into the app's security posture through AppSweep’s integration with their DevOps toolchain.

    The Results

    Once the development team integrated AppSweep into their workflow and registered as AppSweep users, they were able to:

    • Invite team members to a project instead of just sharing static reports.
    • Compare different builds in a project and monitor security trends in their application.
    • Benchmark findings in a build to inform a scalable, repeatable testing strategy.
    • Scan apps fast with the developer’s needs in mind.
    • Easily integrate the tool with IDE or CI/CD.
    • Access video and blog tutorials for a successful and effortless integration.

    After processing the capabilities mentioned above, the team evaluated AppSweep findings by benchmarking them against the results of other general security tools (for example, the OWASP Top 10 list).

    They saw that AppSweep produced high-quality, specific, and mobile-oriented findings — resulting in less noise to deal with. This is a pivotal point for the developers’ team: it enables them to prioritize vulnerabilities and to take action in the most efficient way, aka without sacrificing time to market for new key product features. On top of that, they can also use AppSweep’s actionable recommendations as practical training to raise the organization’s security knowledge. This overcomes the friction between developer and security teams by making security a shared responsibility and avoiding the silo culture.

    New team members can sign up upon invite and start using AppSweep immediately. At the onboarding stage, it is crucial for developers to have a direct line of communication with the AppSweep team to get further clarification if and when needed: the in-product chat allows exactly that.

    Ready to get free mobile app security testing?

    As the only free mobile app-specific security testing tool in the market, AppSweep’s continuous scanning protects the organization from falling victim to code tampering, data breaches, IP theft, non-compliance, and cloning. The elevated security keeps the organization safe from customer churn, reputational damages, data theft, financial and loss.

    User collaboration is crucial in optimizing AppSweep. We want to make it as valuable and easy to use as possible. So, AppSweep is available to use as much and as often as you’d like.

    Check out how mobile app security scanning with AppSweep can dramatically improve the security posture of your mobile app, for free.


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