How to Build Secure Mobile Applications for Fintech

Yana Troianska

May 11, 2018

The financial sphere is one of the most fragile penetration business areas as it deals with users’ sensitive information. Since finance services transformed into Fintech, it became even more disposed to invasions. The problem is especially acute for mobile versions of Fintech products. According to Avast’s research, mobile cyber attacks increased by 40% last year. Such a situation forced Fintech owners to change their approach and implement more strict security measures. But we believe that good security starts at the initial stages, before the development.

What Does It Take To Make A Secure FinTech App?

What Does It Take To Make A Secure FinTech App?

Security is your top priority if you are thinking about or already have a Fintech project. As a service provider, you take responsibility for proceeding and protecting your customers’ information. You may not know the technical side of app security, but you must understand the security requirements the product should meet.

Ideally, is to hire specialized staff – security officers, who will be responsible for maintaining security-related questions on the project. Their job is to consider the security structure and ensure its integration. But frequently, for financial or other reasons, founders neglect to hire additional workers. And the responsibility for security lies on the management and developers team. Therefore, we want to concentrate on the primary aspects of building a secure FinTech app.

To build a secure app, you must understand how damage can be caused. Product Manager at Avast Software, Filip Chytry, highlights three potential levels external parties can hack into applications to cause serious harm.

It can be done:

• On the device. For external users, it is easier to approach sensitive data via a poorly written app.
• In the cloud or on the server. Frequently, servers cannot be fully vetted against security flaws. So, not only apps but unauthorized users can access the back-end APIs.
• In transit. App constantly communicates with other systems while operating, sending payment requests to the bank, etc. Such a connection can be the perfect target for an interception.

fintech app

Steps to take to maintain security through all the stages of app development:

1. When creating a secure FinTech application, the first concern is to ensure a safe environment. Ensure that all parties involved in the development can provide a protected workplace. A good idea would be to establish some security policy for all operation participants.

2. Decide whether to go with custom or off-the-shelf solutions. Since off-the-shelf apps are based on certain templates, the level of security can never compare to custom-developed apps. Building your FinTech app from scratch can ensure you get what you want.

3. Determine the application architecture of the project. Include preferred components, but don’t hesitate to communicate with the developers team on this topic. They can make some propositions and suggestions concerning potential weak points and other things you may not be familiar with.

4. Define data protection for the project. Beforehand, determine what the most sensitive data app will deal with. Also, you need control over important functions, like managing access to the data, encryption of the information, and device inventory control. An important point to mention is a secure connection. The main communication occurs between the app and the server. Therefore, this channel requires higher safety measures. Since FinTech apps frequently perform payments, this area deserves intensified attention. To protect the payment process, you can integrate external payment systems. In our app development, we use systems like Stripe and PayPal as they adherence high-security standards and can ensure safe transactions. Our app does not directly interact with user bank details and cannot be the source of data leakage.

5. Align with security compliance regulations. Frequently, FinTech apps unite with banks or other financial institutions. Such cooperation is an indicator of a secure and trustworthy application. Also, a good idea is to check Standards for Security Management and ensure your developers’ team is familiar with those rules.

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