Every application that is downloaded via an app store runs in a zero-trust environment. When a protected app is published to an official app store, an open loop of protection is created, leaving the app without a way of communicating its current threat status.
With more than 5 million apps available for download, this opens up a whole host of opportunities for bad actors to reverse engineer code and execute attacks that steal sensitive data.
Protection without threat analytics
The potential revenue impact, brand damage and loss of customer trust because of an application security breach can be as devastating to an organisation as any other major security event. Without proper protection in place, a breach is inevitable.
For best security practice, and the lowest risk of a breach, application protection needs to be updated regularly and address the current threats. An app which is developed without security incorporated, has no real protection whatsoever. Once this app is published to app stores, if protection and analytics is still not a core part of the app, businesses will have zero visibility into what is happening to it.
When an open-loop is created there is a control system for an operation or process in which there is no self-correcting action, something that would exist in a closed loop. Essentially, in an open loop, protection is applied yet not updated as no feedback nor instructions on how to update have been provided.
Consequently, the most effective way to secure your apps is by closing the loop – or creating a system to receive feedback about the application’s security posture – and then take action and adapt. The loop can be ‘closed’ by learning from analytics on where and how to update protection. Visibility into when, how and from where an attack is happening, and the ability to optimise your response in real time can mean the difference between stopping a threat before it spreads or, picking up the pieces afterwards.
The risks of downloadable applications
Applications which can be downloaded are particularly vulnerable to cyber criminals, as they can be isolated from the network and attacked indefinitely until their defences are broken. Due to so many people using their personal mobile devices for work purposes, a compromised app will not only attack the individual or the business entity that published the app but could also grant attackers access to enterprise networks.
Any application on an app store can be downloaded by anyone, and that includes bad actors. If an app is lacking in protection, once downloaded a bad actor might reverse engineer the app leaving it vulnerable to wide-scale tampering; IP/PII theft or API attack. With the code being left so vulnerable, the threat is extremely likely to turn into a widespread attack resulting in a loss of customers, brand damage, lost revenue, and lost jobs.
On the other hand, with a threat analytics solution in place from the start, apps can provide valuable insights to the business the moment they are downloaded from an app store, thereby closing the loop. Furthermore, whilst nothing can prevent bad actors from downloading applications, if protected with anti-reverse engineering and anti-tampering techniques in addition to threat analytics, the solution will detect the attack, defend against it, and the threat can then be reported. Additionally, businesses are provided with alerts, enabling them to make informed business decisions, immediate countermeasures and re-optimise protection.
The threat analytics solution
Enterprise security posture is strongest when organisations can holistically respond and adapt quickly to attacks. The detection and reporting of threats to an application from the moment they are deployed is critical to adapting everything from application protection to network and other datacentre defences. This is where threat analytics comes in. Threat analytics provides a ‘closed-loop’ process that allows businesses to understand who, how, and from where, applications are being attacked while they unfold. While an attack is in progress, businesses can respond by rapidly deploying countermeasures before it becomes more widespread.
Using a threat analytics service can enable businesses to view intelligence dashboards and reports which provide insights into the threat environments apps are operating in; awareness of an app’s security posture from the moment it is deployed; and integration of the threat data into existing systems. Mixed with expert security research, threat analytics provides a real-time, comprehensive view of current application threats and how to effectively protect against them.
Knowing when apps are under attack, or running in a risky environment, allows businesses to take appropriate countermeasures as well as providing them with insight into details of attack trends. As apps continue to dominate both the consumer and working world, advanced solutions like threat analytics should be standard for any company hoping to keep its application safe from attack.