3 Measures Companies Can Take to Tackle Mobile Attackers

Each day mobile devices are becoming more powerful. These devices are personal, portable and highly distributed. They connect to a wide range of networks and download tremendous amount of information everyday. Also, the number of apps that are used on a single device have gone up manifolds in the last couple of years.

While all this is good, it also means that the surface area for mobile attacks has also increased. As a business, this is a new challenge and something which is not very easy to tackle. The answer to this problem can also be found within the irregularities of mobile systems.

Data Mining and Machine Learning

Many companies across the globe and even startups are now using methods and technologies to study the vast amount of data that they come across everyday. This data when analysed through learning techniques can be a deciding factor on whether there will be a breach or will the attack be prevented.

The vast amount of information that smartphones have is in itself the source of the solution for the security problems faced. In the future, big data and machine intelligence can help turn the tables against mobile attacks.

Behavioural Analysis

A behavioural analysis is a better security method. Simply put, it means running the program in an isolated environment and throwing different instances at it and seeing how it reacts or behaves to that. If the program can handle it well, it means you are mostly secure. This is a step ahead from the usual static and dynamic analysis.

Appknox is one of the few security companies that uses behavioural methods in the way they handle security issues in mobile apps.

But, let's go one more step further.

Predictive Analysis

The thing with security is that it is ever changing. Attackers keep trying different ways to exploit the present systems and hence, it is important for businesses to stay on top, invest in security throughout the year.

Predictive analysis takes into account static, dynamic and behavioural analysis and also adds a layer of machine learning to it.

The machine intelligence compares any new code to the existing dataset of the world’s mobile code and is able to then predict what will happen based on what has already happened. It takes into account what bad code and bad behaviour looks like and then matches it to potentially bad apps so that an attack can be stopped before any harm is done.

Simply put, every human has a way of doing things. Similarly, an attacker might have a way of doing things which can be predicted by studying the code that can be read and understood using past learning to raise a red flag.

This is the future of security and only when security analysis is combined with machine intelligence can we reach a stage when attacks can be predicted in advance and taken care of before any damage occurs.

So, What Now?

As a company, you should take security seriously. Data privacy and security laws will only get stronger each day and you do not want to be caught on the back foot. A PR disaster is the last thing any growing company wants. Keep in mind that security is not a one-time thing. It is not something you should do when you are attacked rather something that is taken care of every single day. Collect data on how your code behaves and when there are attacks. Use external services that can audit your apps and ensure security.

Mostly, don't be complacent. Security is not something very difficult to take care of. Just ensure that you keep your eyes and ears open, accept flaws and take steps to fix them.

Published on May 12, 2015
Written by Prateek Panda


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