Today we are witnessing a convergence of industries in the mobile world as well as the undeniable influence of mobile on every aspect of our lives.
The rise of handsets, smartphones, tablets, and now wearables has driven new means of communicating. It has also influenced how we buy products, bank, interact with brands, and even created an entire industry in the app economy.
Whenever we appreciate an advert on television, our natural instinct is to reach for our smartphone or tablet in response. If we want to get in touch with a friend, it is our mobiles we turn to.
Governments, too, are capitalizing on the mobile revolution, illustrated by the emergence of mobile ID initiatives, such as mobile driving licenses in the USA. Our mobile devices have quickly become the primary way we engage with the world.
There is however a threat in this new mobile-centric world, and it comes in the constantly evolving shape of cyber-attackers. Hackers know a successful data breach could net them financial details, social network logins, mobile network account details and perhaps enough to commit identity fraud.
This threat is especially pertinent now as mobile app development is rising quickly; 90% of companies will increase mobile app investment by the end of this year. And it’s not just large businesses – in the US, 47% of small businesses will either have or be planning their own app by the end of 2017.
More mobile apps mean more opportunities for cyber-attackers. There’s also been an increase in app usage, further increasing the number of opportunities for attack. Consumers are spending more time with their devices than ever before. End users will spend over three hours a day on their smartphones this year , and 87% of this time will be spent using apps.
Attackers are increasingly aware of this; they are well organised and skilled at spreading malware, exploiting non-official app stores, infecting emails, distributing fraudulent SMS messages and infiltrating browsers to achieve their aims. App providers need to adopt a vigilant attitude towards these threats and help consumers feel safe with genuine solutions that protect against vulnerabilities.
The following results are from a Gemalto survey, conducted in different countries and continents, revealed several key insights into the expectations of end users with regard to app usage and mobile security.
Overall, the insights revealed similar trends in attitude that transcend regional/cultural differences. In the summary below, we’ve listed some of the most significant findings:
- When it comes to the attributes of paid apps, end users value reliability and security most (80%). Convenience and speed also ranks highly (second with 48% of respondents valuing it among the top two most important attributes)
- End users are split in their expectations of where the burden of responsibility should lie for app security – most of them believe that app providers are best placed to protect smartphone apps
- 60% expect security on their smartphones to be easy and frictionless, with the use of PIN, fingerprint, password, or pattern authentication once and then have total access to all apps on their phone
- 70% would want to use digital identity documents on their smartphone, such as passport or national ID card, if they knew all apps on their phones were 100% protected
- 66% of end users say they would perform more transactions if they knew mobile security was on board with their devices With these findings taken into consideration, we’ve made a range of recommendations for the mobile app ecosystem to increase security and build trust with end users.
- The use of (Software Development Kits) SDKs, so that apps can become self-reliant and deal with the dynamic nature of malwares. The use of SDKs gives apps the much-needed ability to defend themselves while in the field, detect unsecure environment and react accordingly. SDKs also better protect users as they enable strong authentication
- User experience needs to become as centric to the design process of mobile apps as possible. This includes embracing the “psychology of security” together with biometry, which plays a key role in a user’s experience and ensures strong authentication
- In conjunction with SDKs, flexible risk management systems should be adopted, which can respond to new situations and implement adaptable security policies while the apps are used in the field
- The mobile app ecosystem needs to adopt a layered approach to protection to ensure security levels can adapt in line with what is at stake. For instance, this approach can be used to counteract the growing levels of sophistication from hackers
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