Global Survey Debunks Five Myths in Mobile Application Security

Consumers are developing a keen interest in cybersecurity, according to a recent analysis. Three quarters of mobile users would abandon an app if it exposed them to a cyber-attack, and most consumers fear their favorite mobile app could be hacked.

A survey by Appdome queried a “demographically diverse” sample of more than 10,000 mobile consumers across the globe with the goal of offering CISOs insights into which mobile app threats consumers fear most, which apps consumers expect have the highest level of security, changes in consumer expectations for mobile app security as a result of COVID-19, and the rising expectations in every key demographic and geographic audience.

While the data aims to help business leaders meet consumer expectations, the findings also help paint a clear picture of just how aware consumers really are about cybersecurity.

Five key myths are said to be debunked:

Myth #1: Consumers are comfortable with “buyer beware” mobile app security strategies.

Reality: Consumers expect the publisher to provide a very high level of mobile app security and protection in the mobile app.

  • 73% of all consumers would stop using a mobile app if it left them unprotected against attacks
  • 74% of all consumers would stop using a mobile app if their app was breach or hacked
  • 46% of all consumers would tell their friends to stop using an app if their app was breach or hacked

Myth #2: Consumers are willing to swap security for better features in the mobile app.

Reality: Most consumers value security and malware protection as much or more than they do features.

  • 38% of all consumers say they care most about security when using mobile apps
  • 37% of all consumers say they care most about features in mobile apps
  • 25% care equally about security and features

Myth #3: Protecting against network and cloud breaches should be #1 priority.

Reality: Consumers care most about app-level, on-device threats and dismiss network-cloud threats.

  • 62% of all consumers fear someone hacking their app, making it the No. 1 mobile app threat
  • 56% fear malware threats on their device, making it the No. 2 mobile app threat
  • 32% fear network-cloud threats, making it the No. 7 mobile app threat.

Myth #4: Protecting user credentials and login on the backend is enough to satisfy consumers.

Reality: Consumers rank threats like malware and hacking above credential loss from backend breaches.

  • 55%+ of Android and iOS users fear malware stealing data from an app as the No. 1 threat
  • 40% of consumers of all age groups fear lack of protection for credentials, making it the No. 4 threat

Myth #5: Mobile app security is only relevant if the mobile app is in a regulated industry.

Reality: Consumers demand the highest mobile app security equally from all kinds of apps, including banking and other apps.

  • 36% of all consumers hold mobile banking apps to the highest level of security
  • 33% say that “all transaction apps” should have the highest level of security
  • 16% say that ewallet/payment apps should have the highest level of security
  • 12% say retail and food delivery apps should have the highest level of security

If the data is to be trusted, consumers are not entirely sold on convenient features if their security or privacy is impacted, contrary to the popular belief that convenience trumps all else in the consumer ecosystem.

And while consumers are certainly more cyber-aware than ever, they still care most about app-level threats and are less aware of network / cloud-centric threats.

“Globally, consumer expectations of mobile app security are deeply held, complex and sophisticated,” CEO Tom Tovar said. “The voice of the consumer flips the script on the ‘security vs. features’ debate, making clear that mobile app security and malware protection are on par with other critical features in the mobile app experience and demanded by every consumer that downloads and uses a mobile app.”