National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Twitter AMA With Appknox and CSEAN

On account of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), We at Appknox thought it was essential to stay true to our mission and help contribute to the cybersecurity community. Our mission is to help secure the mobile app ecosystem so that both businesses and consumers can operate in a worry-free environment.

Cybersecurity is a vast field and cannot be secured with a generalist approach. Just like in the military, you have the Army, Navy, Airforce, Special Ops etc. that are called upon to tackle a specific situation that they are trained and specialized in. Cybersecurity is just as vast and just as dangerous, especially because we’re headed into an era of digital warfare.

Mobile App Security has been a disruptive technology that has influenced the way businesses operate and the way consumers buy. Mobile app security is also a very niche field which has opened wider avenues for exploitation. We’ve seen it happen with multiple businesses before we worked with them. The team at Appknox consists of a bunch of security enthusiasts that are specialized in detecting, diagnosing and neutralizing threats in mobile applications. Consider Appknox your 'Special Ops team for mobile app security'.

A huge part of preventing cyber threats is to educate. In this edition of our Twitter AMA, we were delighted to be invited by, and in conversation with cybersecurity experts association of Nigeria (CSEAN). Nigeria is on route to rapid development and acknowledges that cybersecurity will be an integral part of their strategy in this phase of development. Our motive by doing this with CSEAN in Nigeria was mainly to:

1. Raise awareness on the occasion of Nation cyber security awareness month
2. Educate startups and SMEs on the need to factor in security in their plans
3. Shed more light on how Appknox can help all mobile app owners and developers to be more resilient against attacks.
4. Share security tips to the CSEAN followers as a part of Appknox's contribution towards the NCSAM.

For those who missed our conversation earlier last week, here’s a recap of how it went: 

National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Twitter AMA With Appknox and CSEAN

1. CSEAN: In your experience, how important is the government’s role in enforcing security practices on businesses?

Appknox: Cybersecurity is now as big a job as surveillance & counterterrorism. It’s imperative both sectors find ways to collaborate. The European Cybercrime Centre, Europol acts as a shining example of how the public & private sector can work together. Their track record of success points to what can happen when both government and private sectors collaborate well.


2. CSEAN: Do you think startups and young companies should actively invest in security? why?

Appknox: One thing to learn from data breaches over the last 2 years, is that hackers don’t discriminate between a startup or enterprise. Trust will be the most important factor. Consider what’s coming, self-driving cars, connected healthcare devices, etc. Any doubts regarding safety/privacy of such devices will impact consumer trust and deployment. So YES to security for all.


3. CSEAN: It is commonly said that ‘the bigger the brand, the higher the chances of being infiltrated’. Do customers need to be aware of the security team behind the brands they are loyal to or patronize often?

Appknox: Security is just one of many product properties that a consumer expects to be delivered without explicitly being marketed. The same goes for performance, reliability and many other non-functional requirements. It would be too much to ask the consumer to be aware of what the site reliability engineering team is doing, to provides access to a service because we take it as a given, that a vendor is responsible for having his service/product available as promised. The same should hold for security. No shifting of responsibilities to the consumer.


4. CSEAN: We now know that all companies should look at security from the start. But what things should they take care of while they are small, medium and finally, large enterprises?

Appknox: Security is impossible to be “take care of” as it is always an on-going challenge and more of a feeling than a state. A business can’t be “secure” they can only feel secure, and where that line is, is up to debate. Companies of all sizes should attempt to bake in as much security as possible from day one. They should stick to the basics, solve the simple problems first, and then go after the complicated ones.


5. CSEAN: StaySafeOnline popularly says ‘ Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility’. What are your thoughts on this?

Appknox: More data records were leaked/ stolen by hackers during the 1st half of 2017 (1.9 billion) than all of 2016 (1.37 billion). Another stat from the same breach level index report – average of 10.4 million records is exposed or swiped every day. Cybersecurity is not a luxury anymore. It needs to be everyone’s responsibility. Be it consumers, government or companies.


6. CSEAN: What resources do you recommend for internet users and companies?

Appknox: There’s no easy solution to practice safe internet usage. The key is to educate yourself more about cyber threats and act wisely against it. Here’s a great resource by StaySafeOnline to help you get started 

Here’s an online business security checklist to identify, respond and prevent cyber incidents 


7. CSEAN: What are a few simple tips businesses can adopt this cyber aware month to be safer online?


#Tip1 – Understand and educate yourself better about security threats.

#Tip2 -Develop a cyber awareness plan.

#Tip3 – Promote security education and accountability company-wide.

#Tip4-  Be proactive about security and incorporate it in your development lifecycle, it costs much lesser and helps your business scale at a much faster rate in the future.


8. CSEAN: How do you help businesses to ensure total mobile app security from development to deployment?

Appknox: As mentioned earlier, Appknox uses a system plus human approach with a 4 stage scan. Static, dynamic, manual and API testing. Head over to our website for more details on how we ensure total mobile app security testing – Appknox


9. CSEAN: In your experience, what are the common security mistakes businesses make?

Appknox: There’s plenty of simple errors that have cost businesses millions of dollars in the past. Here’s an article to help you get the basics right to ensure you never make these mistakes.


10. Before you go, what is your advice to individuals and companies who own mobile apps?

Appknox: Mobile apps are becoming the forefront of a business’s identity. Mobile app security is a very niche space. It needs specialists to help you secure this ecosystem. We’ve seen time and time again that data breaches are inevitable. When businesses take a generalist approach as opposed to a specialist one. So our advice is to get in touch with specialists to help you secure your mobile app business.

#ProTip: You can still be a winner after being hacked. A great example of this is Tesla.

It's been our pleasure on the occasion of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month to help spread the awareness of cybersecurity, it's threats and consequences to the people and businesses in Nigeria and Africa. This is us Appknox signing off with the assurance to businesses and consumers that we're here to help stand by your side and fight the evils that cyber warfare poses to all of us.


Published on Oct 17, 2017
Subho Halder
Written by Subho Halder
Subho Halder is the CISO and Co-Founder of Appknox. He started his career researching Mobile Security. Currently, he helps businesses to detect and fix security vulnerabilities. He has also detected critical loopholes in companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and others


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