July 20, 2022

    Tips to Boost Retail Mobile App Security Before the Holiday Shopping Season

    While you may be knee-deep in barbecues, pool parties, and summer fests, the holiday shopping season will be here before we know it. But before you fast forward to thoughts of Black Friday, flash sales, and promo codes, let’s talk about your mobile app security.

    Mobile app security is, quite frankly, necessary to protect your revenue, maintain competitive advantage in the market, and manage your brand’s reputation by delivering a great — and secure — customer experience.

    Protecting your customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) is a year-round concern, but it is especially important to be vigilant around the holidays with the overall increase in traffic. Breaches can have a significant cost impact and may cause irrevocable damage to the trust you work hard to build with your customers.

    In this post, we’ll explore some of the ways you can boost the security of your retail app in preparation for the holiday shopping season.

    Retail growth and growing cyberattacks

    In 2021, retail shopping in the U.S. saw a 20-year high in year-over-year growth, driven by discounts and accelerated wage growth. And the trend continues to look up; Insider Intelligence forecasts a 3.3% rise in holiday sales translating to a whopping $1.262 trillion in revenue.

    There is clearly a significant opportunity for retailers to enjoy a successful holiday season, but one factor cannot be overlooked: cyberattacks on retail apps. It’s no secret that retail apps are often targeted during the holiday season. In fact, 42% of all shopping is expected to be done via mobile applications during the 2022 holiday season, further illustrating just how attractive mobile apps are as a target for threat actors.

    Here are three things you can do now to take a proactive approach to protecting your mobile app.

    Step 1. Locate your app’s potential security risks

    It’s impossible to fix what you don’t know is broken. Scanning your app early in the development process will help you identify potential security risks that could be exploited by threat actors in the coming months.

    Focus on finding a scanning solution that is built specifically for mobile apps to ensure you identify and address any risks specific to mobile apps (more on those below). The results of your scans should break down your application’s package and class structure to ensure findings are actionable.

    The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a great resource to consult as you initiate security scans on your app. OWASP is an open-source community of engineers and IT security professionals who identified the top ten security issues for mobile applications, the top five of which include:

    • Improper platform usage
    • Insecure data storage
    • Insecure communication
    • Insecure authentication
    • Insufficient cryptography

    Mobile app security testing tools, like AppSweep (which allows you to scan Android apps for free), use OWASP’s Mobile Security Testing Guide (MSTG) as a roadmap to scan apps for potential risks by performing high-confidence tests to quickly identify security issues.

    Step 2. Close your mobile app’s security gaps

    As part of your mobile app security preparation for the holiday shopping season, you’ll want to implement effective protection solutions. We recommend a multi-layered approach to security that includes obfuscating code, encrypting sensitive data, and providing runtime application self-protection (RASP) checks.

    Here’s why:

    • Code obfuscation renders decompiled code illegible without affecting its functionality.
    • Encryption techniques protect strings, classes, assets, or other resources in your code.
    • RASP helps prevent threat actors from tampering with your mobile app at runtime.

    Leveraging a solution, like iXGuard (for iOS) and DexGuard (for Android), enables you to efficiently apply a multi-layered security approach without the need to manage multiple tools.

    Step 3. Establish threat monitoring protocols

    A great way to boost your mobile app’s security stance is through real-time threat monitoring. Creating easy-to-access dashboards that trigger alerts when there is an active threat is a great place to start.

    But gaining visibility into attacks as they’re occurring is only part of an effective monitoring approach. Monitoring should also include a way to analyze the threat data you’re collecting. Data analysis can help you proactively uncover ways threat actors attempt to compromise your app, enabling you to address them before they become an issue.

    A monitoring solution, like ThreatCast, can provide intuitive dashboards with real-time, custom alerts, while also analyzing threat data that provides actionable insights. These insights can also help further enhance the app in future releases.

    Leverage automation to enhance mobile app security

    Don’t let security oversights impact the potential for success this holiday shopping season. Implementing a comprehensive approach that includes testing, multi-layered protections and monitoring your mobile retail app can be done best when you leverage automation in your development life cycle. This approach ensures you seamlessly gain actionable insights to more effectively identify and mitigate risks, further protecting your revenue and your customers’ experience.

    To get started, scan your app for free today with AppSweep.


    Discover how Guardsquare provides industry-leading protection for mobile apps.

    Request Pricing

    Other posts you might be interested in