As non-essential businesses have been forced to shut their doors around the world, many companies that previously relied heavily on the brick-and-mortar side of the business are now leaning more on revenue from their digital platforms. By 2023, according to research performed by Statista, applications may generate nearly $935 billion in revenue. With increased reliance on these applications and increasing customer traffic, security will play a critical role.
Although the use of applications has steadily increased, the difference in the ways that web and mobile applications are protected is not widely understood. Additionally, many companies that have been using security tools for their web application may feel that moving these security tools to mobile may be difficult, but it isn’t.
Let’s delve deeper into the similarities and differences in mobile and web apps, and what protection for each of those platforms looks like.
When it comes to mobile applications, the customer that is using a service has an operating system that stores data. Because sessions and identities are usually saved, the app knows who the user is when it’s opened. The user’s data is saved on that particular device. If the application that the user uses is hacked, the cybercriminal can also access the personal information and sessions that the application uses to remember and authenticate the user.
Unlike mobile applications, web applications don’t have long-term memory (although they do perform some caching). This means that they do not save a large amount of data in the same way that mobile applications do. If a web application is hacked, the cybercriminal has gained a foothold, but not instant access to user data. The foothold can later be leveraged to access back-end databases or other sensitive places within the company’s network. This can lead to a potential breach.
Application security for both types of apps
Both types of applications can be protected through the right type of application security testing. Mobile application security testing (MAST) and web application security testing tools are easily accessible nowadays. According to research performed by WhiteHat Security, organizations that perform scans during the application’s production have a lower chance of being breached. Additionally, organizations that include security in DevOps are able to lower the risk of a breach, reduce costs and have better time to market.
Security testing for web applications
Web application security testing focuses mainly on the relationship between the request and response. Because the size and complexity of websites has increased over time, the need for web app security testing tools that contextualize the risk carried by the vast amounts of data collected as they try to spot anomalies and identify vulnerabilities has increased as well.
There are two types of tools that can achieve this: dynamic application security testing (DAST) and static application security testing (SAST).
DAST scans apps on an ongoing basis once they have been deployed, and SAST scans applications at the pre-production level. Combining both DAST and SAST is a great way to strengthen the application’s security not only through the DevOps lifecycle, but also into production when the app is live and in use.
All about MAST
MAST looks at the coordination between the request and its response, and also how they are handled within the operating system. The best MAST approach uses both dynamic and static automated scanning in addition to manual mobile application-layer penetration testing. This offers coverage throughout the entire DevOps lifecycle. It also tackles compliance requirements, reduces risk and produces safer mobile apps that stay secure against potential attacks.
Adding a mobile app to a company’s product line-up should not be nerve-wrecking, even in these stressful times. By adding application security testing when implementing these applications, companies can save themselves and their customers from major data breaches and give the business time to appreciate the benefits of having an application – rather than fretting over risks.