Does Apps are hack-proof?

Courses related to apps cybersecurity

Most of us these days focus on taking steps to ensure website security but we forget another aspect that’s equally important to safeguard – the apps we use. From food ordering and ride sharing or ride booking apps to apps for making purchases, paying for services or goods, etc. we use a wide variety of apps that deal with our confidential and sensitive information – right from our personal details (such as phone number, email id, password, etc.) to our financial details (related to bank account, debit/credit card, online wallet, etc.) and more.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if some hackers or those with malicious intent get access to such information, which they can use to steal your identity and money, hold you to ransom (in lieu of giving back your confidential information or the control of your apps and smartphone, etc.), or create a lot of havoc in your life? If not, it’s time to take the security of your apps seriously and implement robust security for apps users so that you don’t put your confidential information at risk.

Understanding the risk factors for mobile apps security

With the growing use of smartphones and other smart devices, which has boosted the use of apps, many have become interested in opting for study programs and courses which are related to apps cybersecurity.

However, before walking down this path, it’s important to know about the top risk factors for mobile apps security, which will let you evaluate the specific area you want to focus upon and even help you to choose your specialization later on in the course or study program of your choice. So, here’s a brief overview of the top risks to mobile apps security.

  • Weak server-side controls: This can happen when the app developers have minuscule security budgets, lack adequate security knowledge of a new language, or show excessive dependence on the mobile operating system for security updates. Server-side security may also be at risk due to vulnerabilities that arise because of cross-platform development and compilation.
  • Insecure data storage: Most app developers rely on client storage for the data but they forget that such storage is vulnerable to security breaches. Thus, in case a thief or someone else gets hold of the mobile, they can easily access, use, and manipulate stored data, which in turn may trigger the app developers’ reputation damage, external policy violation (PCI), and the customer’s identity theft.
  • Absence of binary protection: This can help a hacker reverse engineer the app’s code to redistribute the app’s pirated version possibly with a threat or inject malware.

Some other risk factors include

  • Missing or poor authentication and authorization
  • Insufficient transport layer (which involves not using TLs and SSL to ensure the communication is encrypted)
  • Unauthorized/unintended data leakage (triggered by the negligence of security in the framework, issues such as OS bugs, etc.)
  • Client-side injection
  • Broken cryptography
  • Weak implementation of hidden functionalities, values, or fields (which may grant higher level permissions to a hacker)
  • Improper session handling

New study programs

University degree programs

Most university degree programs offer cybersecurity courses that cover app security as one of the subjects. Here are some worth considering:

  • Purdue University’s online Bachelor of Science Degree in Cybersecurity
  • Bellevue University’s online Bachelor of Science Degree in Cybersecurity
  • BS in Applied Computing (Cybersecurity) from ASU (Arizona State University)
  • Online Cybersecurity degree from the University of Maryland University College
  • Towson University’s online BS in Computer Science-Security Track
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Science Cyber Operations from the University of Arizona

You may also consider taking up one of the following:

  • The CISA Certification Application
  • Cyber Security Certificate Program by California State University
  • GIAC Web Application Defender certification
  • SANS Institute’s SANS GWEB and SANS GWAPT
  • EC-Council’s Certified Application Security Engineer Program

This platform has several programs in cybersecurity, some of which focus on app security. You may take your pick from the following programs:

  • ISC’s Systems and Application Security
  • University of Maryland’s Cybersecurity
  • Networking and Security in iOS Applications
  • Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity
  • University System of Georgia’s Cybersecurity and Its Ten Domains

In case you plan to build Google Cloud products, you may even take a look at Coursera’s programs titled “Security in Google Cloud Platform Specialization,” “Managing Security in Google Cloud Platform, Google Cloud,” etc.

This platform has cybersecurity courses from the top universities and organizations. To learn about app security, you may consider taking up one of these courses on EdX:

  • RITx’s Cybersecurity MicroMasters Program
  • Curtin University’s Cybersecurity and Privacy in the IoT
  • University of Washington’s Professional Certificate in Essentials of Cybersecurity Professional Certificate
  • Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity