August 9, 2022

    The Impact of Mobile App Security for Financial Services

    Financial services apps are an enticing target for malicious actors, especially as consumer adoption of mobile banking grows. But despite the growth of mobile banking, consumers are still hesitant to trust mobile apps with the depth of their personal financial information.

    A simple Google search on “mobile banking app security” produces a number of “people also ask” questions, like Are mobile banking apps secure? and What are some security risks with mobile banking?

    Financial services organizations’ success depends on effectively building and maintaining consumer trust, and this depends heavily on proving a focus and dedication to enhancing security. In this post, we’ll explore how four mobile banking app publishers leveraged mobile app security solutions to improve their mobile app security posture.

    1. Meeting PCI compliance requirements

    The financial services industry has a plethora of compliance regulations, all designed with the intention of keeping sensitive information secure. One of the most commonly known regulations is Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance.

    One aspect of PCI that mobile payment apps are required to adhere to is PCI 3DS SDK Security Standards. For this reason, merchants and vendors that leverage in-app payments are encouraged to secure any SDKs they use to implement mobile payment functionality.

    A leading provider of mobile app SDKs for iOS and Android mobile payment applications has merchants, acquirers, and payment service providers that rely on its solution. Without a secure SDK, these companies could not build secure mobile applications for consumers.

    In order to meet the industry regulatory requirements, while also maintaining customer trust, the organization selected Guardsquare’s DexGuard and iXGuard to harden its SDK.

    Guardsquare’s protection tools provided the mobile app SDK company with an automated process to more effectively prevent rooting, jailbreaking, debugging, and tampering. This makes it harder for an attacker to break the SDK.

    Read the full case study.

    2. Protecting sensitive customer financial data

    Mobile banking apps require additional security protections for two primary reasons: They process financial transactions, and they house a variety of sensitive information that ranges from payment card information to personally identifiable information (PII).

    For one European bank, mobile app security efforts were getting a bit out of hand. The bank offered its customers mobile banking access on both Android and iOS platforms, and leveraged several different tools to monitor and protect the apps. But, with a variety of tools in place to enhance mobile app security, it became difficult to effectively manage them all.

    The bank selected Guardsquare’s DexGuard and iXGuard to streamline their mobile app security efforts for Android and iOS, respectively. With an implementation time of only one month, Guardsquare’s protection solutions quickly proved valuable to the application security team at the bank. An added bonus: the team only needed to use a single tool for code hardening and runtime application self-protection (RASP).

    With Guardsquare, the bank was able to effectively protect their customers’ sensitive personal and financial data by preventing credential harvesting, cloning, and tampering.

    Read the full case study.

    3. Preventing intellectual property theft

    IP theft can put a company's competitive edge at risk. And in the financial services industry, the consequences can be significant. Not only can this negatively impact a bank’s reputation and damage consumer trust, but it can also give the competition a leg up by gaining access to your competitive differentiator.

    One of the 50 largest U.S. banks by asset size recognized secure app development as a critical priority. The bank provides a full range of banking, investment, and insurance services to businesses and individuals all over Texas, making the protection of its IP and its reputation a critical priority.

    The bank was already using ProGuard, the open source app optimizer created and maintained by Guardsquare, which made the implementation of DexGuard that much easier. Leveraging DexGuard’s code hardening techniques, including obfuscation and encryption, the bank was able to make it more challenging for an attacker to inspect or tamper with the app’s code.

    IP theft most frequently occurs through reverse engineering, which enables malicious actors to repackage and distribute an app as their own. DexGuard gives the bank confidence that its app is protected against reverse engineering, keeping their IP and brand reputation intact.

    Read the full case study.

    4. Minimizing losses due to fraud

    Mobile banking has enabled consumers to more efficiently and effectively navigate their financial needs without the restrictions often associated with traditional brick-and-mortar locations. But as we mentioned, mobile banking apps are lucrative targets for threat actors. Financial institutions recognize the importance and value of consumer trust, and as a result, put a strong emphasis on mobile app security.

    For example, one of Vietnam’s top mobile and electronic payments providers gives its customers the ability to complete mobile banking transactions, use SMS to query bank accounts, pay bills, book tickets, and buy mobile phone credits, among a variety of other activities.

    With so much sensitive data flowing through the company’s mobile apps, the company wanted to ensure its apps for both iOS and Android included maximum security protection. The primary drivers were to maintain user trust, avoid reputational damage, and minimize losses due to fraud.

    The company’s developers and DevOps engineers seamlessly incorporated DexGuard and iXGuard into their app development process, keeping Vietnam’s mobile users secure at the speed of the modern economy.

    Read the full case study.

    Protect & secure your sensitive information

    From meeting industry regulations to preventing IP theft to protecting sensitive customer financial information, mobile banking apps must meet an extremely high bar to earn and maintain consumer trust. To do so, many financial services institutions are increasingly committing to enhanced mobile app security.

    Leveraging Guardsquare’s protection solutions — DexGuard and iXGuard — enables organizations to implement multiple layers of application hardening measures to prevent static and dynamic attacks. Bringing security into the app development process is a seamless integration that enables a more streamlined and efficient means to monitor for and mitigate mobile app security threats and in-app vulnerabilities.

    Additionally, threat monitoring solution ThreatCast provides financial organizations with access to real-time threat visibility. This enhances the data collected by fraud detection and monitoring systems to provide actionable insights on security gaps so organizations can respond before a breach occurs.

    Guardsquare’s dedicated team of security experts is constantly raising the bar on app security. Contact us to learn more about enhancing mobile app security for your mobile banking app.


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