Encryption flaws found in 80 per cent of mobile apps

Encryption is not all it’s cracked up to be according to a recent security report, with coding flaws introducing a number of vulnerabilities into smartphones and their software.

Seven in eight Android apps and 80 per cent of all iOS apps have encryption flaws, claims Veracode’s State of Software Security report.

The researchers at Veracode found that four particular encryption errors were recurring in a large number of iOS and Android apps. These included insufficient entropy to secure data, failure to validate certificates, the use of weak cryptographic algorithms and storing information as plain text. Most disappointing of all, however, is the fact that these flaws are relatively straightforward to fix, suggesting that developers need to place greater emphasis on security.

While many startups and smaller businesses may not feel as though they have the time and resources to dedicate to security, the reputational damage of a data breach can be so devastating that it often proves a worthwhile investment. As companies develop and transition to more agile development methods, it is also hoped that security will become more ingrained in the software engineering process.

The State of Software Security report also highlighted a number of vulnerabilities in web-based applications. Three coding languages, in particular, were singled out as being the most susceptible to insecurities: PHP, ColdFusion and Classic ASP. SQL injection vulnerabilities were found to affect 64 per cent of Classic ASP apps, 62 per cent of ColdFusion apps and 56 per cent of PHP software. On the other hand, Java and .NET were seen to be the most reliable web development languages.

The report highlighted that the best way of preventing coding errors from causing security flaws is to invest in more training and online learning. This will not only lead to less scripting errors, but also help developers, and the company as a whole, take security more seriously.

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