Runtime Application Self-Protection: a game-changer in mobile application security

Identify vulnerabilities in your applications and simulate common threats with dynamic application testing software. As mentioned above, the mobile app platform is one of the most common threat points exploited by attackers. So, keeping it secure and using it properly should be one of your main concerns. An MITM attack occurs when a perpetrator positions themselves in a conversation between two parties, such as a user and an application. The intention is to either eavesdrop or to impersonate one of the parties by making it appear as if a normal exchange of information is underway and capturing sensitive data. It’s common knowledge that the pandemic pushed businesses across the board to build out their digital tools at hyper-speed.

mobile app security

In this module, we use the OWASP Mobile Top 10 as a framework to explain the way to implement mobile appsec. However, with RASP technology, application security got a brand new definition. It is no longer a casual response to selected threats but a proactive measure able to respond to known and emerging threats in real-time. Runtime Application Self-Protection, RASP, is an innovation in the security ecosystem, equipped to deal with runtime attacks on the software’s application layer by providing more visibility into concealed vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity Must Haves for Business

Improper platform usage occurs when app developers misuse system functions, such as misusing certain APIs or documented security guidelines. Code obfuscation prevents humans and automated tools from understanding the inner workings of an app and is one of the best ways to mitigate reverse engineering. Mobile app security is a holistic and integrated entity that protects all of these targets and threat points from attackers.


Losing sensitive data, such as client information and login passwords, typically stem from inadequate mobile app security, which hackers leverage to obtain access to sensitive information. Throughout the development phase, our developers take appropriate measures to mitigate risks, evaluate and remove vulnerabilities, and ensure the mobile app they develop has hard-baked security features from the get-go. Generally, session tokens are utilized by mobile apps to allow users to perform the different functions without logging out of a session or re-authenticating. Nonetheless, when these session tokens are mishandled or accidentally shared with threat actors, it leads to inappropriate session handling, giving hackers a chance to impersonate the users and their data and information.

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  • As we tread a long way in this digitalized world, the journey is disrupted by a massive amount of security breaches.
  • It has been a consistently good practice to test your application against randomly generated security scenarios before every deployment.
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  • As more consumers shift to mobile apps for banking, ecommerce, gaming, and more, mobile application security has become even more critical for mobile development teams and app publishers.

Android Tamer is a platform for performing malware analysis, penetration testing, and reverse engineering against Android applications. This tool enables security teams and developers to identify potential risk areas of their Android app by attempting exploits. The Mobile Security Framework is an automated security testing framework for pentesting, malware analysis, and both static and dynamic analysis. MobSF can analyze the binaries and source code of Android, iOS, and Windows mobile apps. There are a number of free and commercial mobile application security tools available that assess applications using either static or dynamic testing methodologies with varying degrees of effectiveness. However, no single tool provides a comprehensive assessment of the application.

Benefits of implementing Runtime Application Self-Protection

Agile development model is in dire need of a security solution capable of following up on the constant requirement for feature upgrades. By implementing RASP technology for your organization, you are choosing a quick and effective solution for dealing with a sophisticated threat landscape. RASP allows you to conduct pentesting in order to reveal vulnerabilities and eliminate them. The technology aims to respond to a detected vulnerability in a preselected manner. Either by notifying the end-user or by terminating the application at once. The hack on Portpass, a COVID passport app, exposed the personal data of 650,000 users.

Since Runtime Application Self-Protection is an integral part of the application, it allows monitoring in real-time and detection of any type of anomaly in the mobile app’s runtime behavior. It is essential to have security measures in place to safeguard against malicious attacks at backend servers. Most of the developers assume that only the app that has been programmed to access APIs can access it. However, you should verify all your APIs in accordance with the mobile platform you aim to code for because API authentication and transport mechanisms can deviate from one platform to another. Mobile app security is the practice of safeguarding high-value mobile applications and your digital identity from fraudulent attack in all its forms. This includes tampering, reverse engineering, malware, key loggers, and other forms of manipulation or interference.

Mobile App Security

For example, by modifying a file, the hacker might be able to appear logged in to the application, without any credentials. Hackers distribute their own apps disguised as games, utilities, etc. which will, behind the scenes, observe user’s actions and inputs. Thus they’ll be able to steal lot of details such as, what other apps are installed, all of the user’s keyboard inputs, all network activity, etc.

While the mobile platforms and ecosystems provide security capabilities, these mainly benefit the end-user. Mobile app developers, on the other hand, need to implement strong mobile application security themselves. With mobile app risks soaring, organizations need to focus on mobile app security to prevent threat actors from spying on their confidential or sensitive data. In May of this year, we also learned that as many as 24,000 mobile apps using Google Firebase were not properly secured, allowing anyone entry to databases containing users’ personal information and other sensitive data. To make matters worse, some search engines are indexing Firebase database URLs, making it easier than ever for threat actors to find and exploit these weaknesses.

mobile app security

You should also take into account different user case scenarios, encryption support, password support, and geo-location data support for the OS in order to appropriately control and distribute the app on your chosen platforms. Discussing strategies and steps to test the security of mobile apps cannot be accomplished without understanding the existing types of security threats. A successful attack against a mobile application will cause it to act in unusual ways, and these anomalous actions are exactly what RASP solutions are monitoring for. By looking for and responding to unusual behaviors, RASP can detect attacks that it has never seen before simply because these attacks cause the protected application to misbehave in some way. RASP protects against zero-day threats by leveraging deep visibility into the internals and runtime state of a mobile application.

These rising numbers have necessitated mobile app security testing to ensure a safe digital experience for users. Mobile application security refers to the technologies and security procedures that protect mobile applications against cyberattacks and data theft. An all-in-one mobile app security framework automates mobile application security testing on platforms like iOS, Android, and others.

What are the security techniques used in mobile applications?

Therefore, it is vital to remain updated with the latest security algorithm, and whenever possible, use modern encryption methods like AES with 512-bit encryption, 256-bit encryption & SHA-256 for hashing. In addition, you should perform manual penetration testing and threat modeling on your applications before it goes live to ensure foolproof security. Google has onboarded a set of Authorized Labs to perform the app assessments. All the Authorized Labs provide comprehensive security testing and offer developers the means to obtain validation against published standards.

In the security hierarchy, application security controls lie below standards and policies. Policies set the boundaries expected for application security and protection, while standards create rules for enforcing those boundaries. Application security controls are the specific steps assigned to developers or other teams to implement those standards. If you want to improve your mobile app security, consider implementing Snyk Code to find and fix vulnerabilities during the mobile development process. By shifting security scanning earlier, development teams can dramatically improve app security. Snyk Code is a static application security scanning solution that can scan Swift code and Objective-C for vulnerabilities.

As mobile app vulnerabilities with far-reaching implications are exposed at a faster pace, mobile app security will begin to weigh more heavily against the pressure to quickly launch new and more feature-rich mobile apps. RASP enables insight into application logic and the app’s state in real-time – during the attack. It can point out vulnerabilities and the exact snippet of code affected by the attack. Not only does it detect and prevent attacks, but it reveals which parts of the code pose a security liability. This makes the process of extracting potential vulnerabilities targeted and efficient. Rather than addressing the application design flaws, developers gravitate towards static and traditional application security approaches.

While a lack of proper security measures for a mobile app is a vulnerability, improper configuration or implementation is also fatal to the app’s security posture. When you fail to implement all the security controls for the app or server, it becomes vulnerable to attackers and puts your business at risk. Most of the vulnerabilities exist in the client, and a fair share of them are high risk for mobile app security. These vulnerabilities are diverse and can lead to authentication problems and software infections. Unreliable data storage is one of the most significant app vulnerabilities, as it leads to data theft and severe financial challenges. Forty-three percent of organizations often overlook mobile app security in the race of launching their apps.

mobile app security

Many times, developers are forced to rely on the mobile operating system for protection. As a mobile application security engineer, your challenge is to secure an ever-growing and constantly updating mobile app portfolio with finite resources. Thankfully, you can standardize and scale mobile appsec testing using the mobile app security OWASP Mobile Security Project. The OWASP Mobile Security Project is a centralized resource intended to give developers and security teams the resources they need to build and maintain secure mobile apps. You can use the OWASP’s mobile security resources to build efficient and effective mobile appsec programs.

Here we describe a mobile app security checklist to refer while building your mobile apps. Now that your app is implemented, it’s crucial that you incorporate defenses against reverse engineers in order to protect your intellectual property, prevent counterfeits and secure your data and your brand’s reputation. App shielding techniques like code hardening and runtime application self-protection ensure that your mobile app can’t be easily reverse-engineered. Best practices for mobile app security include integrating security measures early in the development process, implementing multiple layers of app protection, and monitoring for changes in the mobile threat landscape.

Application Binary-Level Attacks

And if that business does not take proper security protections it can put their brand at risk. If you are a developer and interested in participating, please reach out directly to one of the Authorized Labs listed below to initiate the testing process. Any fees or required paperwork will be handled directly between the lab and the developer. The lab will test the public version of the app available in the Play Store and provide assessment feedback directly to developers. Once the app meets all requirements, the lab sends a Validation Report directly to Google as confirmation, and developers will be eligible to declare the security badge on their data safety form.

Mobile App Security Threats and Ways to Mitigate Them

Mobile data encryption can be used to secure data within the application sandbox against malware and other forms of criminal access. To control application data sharing on the device, individual data elements should be encrypted and controlled. She circles back with the application development team to see if they performed a threat model on the app prior to release, in order to identify insecure storage as a possible risk.


The Solution

They use automated tools to decrypt the application binary and rebuild the app source code, also known as code obfuscation. Even before a vulnerability is exploited, attackers can obtain a public copy of an application and reverse engineer it. Popular applications are repackaged into “rogue apps” containing malicious code and are posted on third-party app stores to lure and trick unsuspecting users to install them and compromise their devices. Essentially, it is a security software integrated with the application or its runtime environment, constantly intercepting calls to the application in order to inspect the security. Instead, Runtime Application Self-Protection proactively hunts for malware in the incoming traffic to the app and prevents fraudulent calls from executing inside the app. By protecting the application from the inside, RASP solution neutralizes potential known vulnerabilities – all without any kind of human intervention.

Insufficient Transport Layer Protection (TLS)

All threat points are interconnected, and weakness in even one of them can stimulate exploitation. Proper log management and audit trails minimize average data breach detection and containment time. They enable faster breach detection and mitigation measures and, in turn, save your time, reputation, and money.

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Angela is an editorial assistant at Kratom Crazy. Being working as an editor, she is also responsible for studying kratom effects on various health issues.