What do your house, car, and business apps have in common?

  • They are all beneficial to you.
  • They all need some kind of security.

Your house can keep you safe and comfortable, but locks protect you from intruders. Your car gets you places, but its safety features keep you safe on the road. You use apps for efficiency, but you need to deal with their possible vulnerabilities.

Let’s look at some of those vulnerabilities, then see how you can protect your business against criminals who could exploit them.

Why You Need a Cyber Security Strategy for Your Apps

If apps come from reputable vendors, then aren’t they supposed to be safe to use? Well, the truth is no app is immune to cyber-attacks. Hackers can try to exploit flaws in an app’s code, configuration, or permissions. Attackers can use app vulnerabilities to access your data, disrupt your business, or hijack your computers.

Overview of Application Security Risks

Below are some basic information about the most common app security risks.

SQL Injection Imagine a crook inserting a bump key that can open all doors. Here, when an app does not validate user-supplied data, the attacker can insert malicious commands into user input fields. This can compromise your database and expose your sensitive data.
Cross-site Scripting (XSS) This is like receiving a gift box that contains a bomb. Hackers inject malicious code into an app’s web pages, which can run in a user’s browser. It can redirect to malicious sites, steal cookies, or display fake content, affecting your reputation and trust.
Broken Authentication A broken lock is a useless lock – similar to easily guessing or stealing your password. An attacker bypasses the app’s authentication mechanisms (codes or tokens), then accesses your sensitive information and accounts.
Sensitive Data Exposure This is like a thief finding valuables in plain sight or in unlocked drawers. When you have unencrypted or poorly protected data, hackers can easily intercept or access your passwords, credit cards, or personal information. This can lead to identity theft, fraud, blackmail, and reputational damage.
Security Misconfiguration Just as unused doors and windows can be used to enter your house, hackers can exploit an app’s default (or incorrect) settings, like open ports, unencrypted connections, or unneeded features. That can expose the app to unauthorised access or attacks.

These dangers could be hiding in your business apps. If left unchecked, they can cause serious harm to your business. Make sure you implement a cyber-security strategy for your apps, such as user application hardening.

Australian Cyber Security Centre
Australian Cyber Security Centre

Protect Your Business with User Application Hardening

User application hardening is one of the Essential Eight cyber security strategies recommended by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). It involves applying security settings and controls to your apps. This minimises the chances that a person will be able to use your app in a way that will compromise your security.

User application hardening works just as guardrails on a cliff at a tourist spot. People will still be able to enjoy the landscape view, but there will be a slim chance of falling off the edge of the cliff.

Here’s how user application hardening can work for you:

  • Blocking malicious web content: Configure your web browsers to block pop-ups, ads, scripts, and other potentially harmful content from unknown or untrusted sources. Just go to your browser settings and enable pop-up blocking and ad blocking. This is like refusing flyers from people handing them out, because you know that some of them are from scammers.
  • Restricting app permissions: Limit app user access and privileges to only what they need to function properly, preventing them from accessing unneeded or sensitive data or resources. When you install an app, you may choose to grant certain permissions (e.g., to access your contacts and photos) and you can revoke permissions anytime. It’s like allowing a visitor to use your bathroom, but not a stranger.
  • Disabling unused features: Disable or uninstall app features or components that you don’t use or need, reducing the chances of exploitation. This is like locking or permanently closing doors, gates, or passageways that are never used anyway.
  • Updating and patching: Always keep your apps up to date with the latest security patches and fixes, and close any known vulnerabilities. Enable automatic updates or regularly check for updates manually. This is similar to a car recall when there are safety defects, and the carmaker might instruct you to bring your car to the dealer so they can fix it.

User application hardening should not be a one-time process. Regular and continuous monitoring and maintenance must be done. To help you implement user application hardening for your apps, you may use the tools and guides provided by the ACSC or book a free consultation with us at Inspired IT for guidance.

Don’t Wait: Stop Cyber Criminals Before They Strike

Your apps are essential for your business success but can pose serious cyber security risks if not properly secured. By using security strategies such as user application hardening, you can shield your business from cyber threats.

Enjoy the benefits of your apps without compromising your security. Don’t wait till it’s too late – strengthen your apps today.