How to Mitigate Security Risks in Mobile App Development

January 5, 2024

How to Mitigate Security Risks in Mobile App Development

In the 21st century, Mobile apps have become an important part of businesses because they provide easy access to information, products, and services. According to Grand View Research, the global mobile application market was valued at USD 206.85 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8% from 2023 to 2030.

According to's 2023 Application Security Threat Report, 57% of all applications in the wild are "under attack." Another recent report found that approximately 84% of analysed applications had no "repackaging" detection, a common method threat actors use to modify existing code. This increases the possibility of sensitive user information being stolen.

Data on mitigating security risks

Approximately 217 million users were affected in the United States, with over 17 million in the United Kingdom. Canada came in third, with about 12.6 million internet users affected by data breaches.

Data on security risks across different countries

Mobile devices aren't just small personal computers; they differ significantly in hardware and software compared to other devices. As a result, transportable security risks can vary greatly from laptop or desktop computer security risks. That is why mobile app security is important.

If your mobile app development company UK has an app, you must understand the unique security vulnerabilities of mobile apps and smartphones. This article discusses How to Mitigate Security Risks in Mobile App Development.

Key Takeaways on Mitigating Security Risks in App Development

  1. Mobile App Security is Imperative: Mobile app development is integral to modern business, but understanding and mitigating security risks is crucial. The increasing number of cyber-attacks highlights the need for robust security measures.
  2. Global Impact of Data Breaches: Data breaches affect millions globally, emphasising the importance of addressing security vulnerabilities. The repercussions extend beyond financial loss, impacting user trust and brand reputation.
  3. Insecure Data Storage Threats: Inadequate protection of customer data can lead to breaches and identity theft. Encrypting data at rest and in transit, data masking, and regular security audits are essential measures to counter this risk.
  4. API Security is Paramount: APIs are a gateway for attackers; securing them is vital. Implementing robust bot protection can thwart malicious attempts, ensuring the integrity and security of your mobile app.
  5. Client Code Security Measures: Common code security issues in mobile apps require a combination of automated tools and manual reviews. Consistent coding practices, static analysis tools, and expert reviews contribute to a more secure application.
  6. Authentication and Authorisation Challenges: Weak authentication mechanisms invite unauthorised access, leading to severe consequences. Strengthening password policies, implementing multi-factor authentication, and keeping protocols updated are key preventive measures.
  7. Eliminating Hardcoded Passwords and Keys: Developers often hardcode sensitive information, posing a significant risk. Encouraging secure password management solutions and regular scans for hardcoded passwords are crucial for reducing vulnerabilities.

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Top 5 Mobile App Security Risks and Ways to Mitigate Them:

1. Insecure Data Storage:

Insecure data storage refers to the storage of customer data without adequate protection. This security issue can arise when data is not properly encrypted or storage mechanisms need to be more secure to prevent unauthorised access. Data breaches, unauthorised access to sensitive information, and identity theft are all caused by insecure data storage.

Solutions to mitigate these Security Risks include:

  • Encrypt customer data at rest and in transit using a strong data encryption mechanism.
  • To obscure customer data, use data masking or data tokenisation.  
  • Ensure that sensitive data is stored on secure servers that are encrypted and only accessible to authorised users.
  • Conduct regular security audits to identify and address potential vulnerabilities in your application before attackers can exploit them.

2. Poor API Connection:

You will likely use one or more APIs when developing a mobile app. APIs enable applications to access data from other applications, allowing modern apps to provide various functionalities. It can include displaying directions to a location or combining information from multiple sources.

However, many mobile app development companies in the UK should focus more on API security. They can believe that bad actors will not target them, but APIs give malicious actors access to valuable and organised information.

Attackers may use various techniques to identify and exploit access points, including reverse engineering your API, running your app through an emulator, or using a mobile farm.

Solutions to mitigate these Security Risks include:

Malicious bots significantly threaten mobile app security because they can exploit vulnerabilities and cause considerable damage. Bots have no valid reason to use your API, so any attempts are suspicious. To defend against bot attacks, it is critical to implement a bot protection solution.

A solution like this can detect and block malicious bots while allowing legitimate bots to access your API securely. By implementing robust bot protection, you can reduce the risk of bot-based attacks while improving your mobile app's security.

3. Client Code Security:

In mobile apps, code security issues are quite common. Many of these issues can take a long time to detect using manual code reviews; however, you can perform fuzzing or static analysis using automated, third-party tools. These tools can see injection flaws, weak encryption, insecure data storage,  and other security flaws.

However, automated tools are insufficient; manual review is required to detect security threats where automation fails.

Solutions to mitigate these Security Risks include:

Maintain consistent, secure coding practices to avoid vulnerable code. When using buffers, ensure that the incoming buffer data does not exceed the target buffer size.

Using third-party static analysis tools, use automation to detect memory leaks and buffer overflows. Fixing memory leaks and buffer overflows should be prioritised over other code quality issues because they pose more mobile security risks and are more easily exploited.

Use a static analysis security company to review your code and identify these security risks and vulnerabilities.

4. Weak Authentication and Authorisation:

Unauthorised access to sensitive data and functionality occurs when the authentication and authorization mechanisms used to grant app access are easily compromised.

Hackers can use this major flaw to access sensitive information, resulting in financial loss, reputational damage, data breaches, and other serious consequences.

Weak authentication and authorization include:

  • Using weak passwords.
  • Need to implement password policies.
  • Employing outdated or insecure authentication protocols.
  • Using default credentials.
  • Need to implement multi-factor authentication.

The 2022 DoorDash data breach was caused by inadequate authentication and authorisation. Hackers gained access to the personal data of DoorDash users and merchants by exploiting a flaw in the authentication and authorisation systems of the third-party payment provider.

Solutions to mitigate these Security Risks include:

  • Implement stronger password policies, such as using alphanumeric passwords.
  • Passwords should expire, and password lockout policies should be in place.
  • Avoid using default credentials and instead use two-factor or multi-factor authentication mechanisms.
  • Keep your authentication and authorisation protocols up to date.

5. Hardcoded Passwords or Keys:

Developers continue to hardcode passwords, OAuth keys, or API keys into application code for ease of implementation, support, or debugging. Passwords or keys that are hardcoded are explicitly written down in the code for attackers to discover. As a result, the application may be open to various forms of exploitation.

Solutions to mitigate these Security Risks include:

Hardcoding passwords or keys by developers can pose a security risk. Provide developers with a username and password management solution that securely stores their passwords or keys to avoid hardcoding sensitive values.

It's also important to run hardcoded password scans regularly. If you find a hardcoded password in a live app before anyone else, fix it immediately to keep malicious actors from exploiting it.

The mobile app development company UK takes this by integrating security measures into every app.


In today's digital age, mobile app security is critical. Mobile app developers must take proactive steps to identify and mitigate security flaws in their apps to prevent data breaches and protect their users' sensitive information. Following the best solutions discussed in this blog, app developers UK can strengthen the security of their apps and provide their users with a secure and trustworthy experience. At SoftCircle, we offer comprehensive software testing services that can help you identify or correct vulnerabilities in your app.


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