What is the EU Digital Markets Act?

Preparing Mobile Apps for the EU Digital Markets Act Era

The European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA) is set to shake up the mobile app ecosystem by introducing new rules that aim to create a level playing field and promote competition. The DMA, which will apply to large online platforms designated as "gatekeepers," imposes a range of obligations, including allowing third-party app stores and alternative payment systems on their platforms.

For mobile app developers, this represents a significant shift, as they will soon have the option to distribute their apps and facilitate in-app purchases through channels beyond the traditional app stores run by Apple and Google. However, with this increased openness comes the need to enhance security measures to protect users and their data.

Recommendations for Securing Mobile Apps in the DMA Era

As third-party app stores and payment systems emerge, it's crucial for developers to implement robust security measures to safeguard their apps and ensure compliance with data protection regulations. Here are some key recommendations:

1. Runtime Secrets Protection: Implement secure storage and management of sensitive data, such as API keys, encryption keys, and other runtime secrets, to prevent unauthorized access or tampering.

2. Token-Based API Access: Implement token-based authentication and authorization mechanisms for APIs, ensuring that only authenticated and authorized clients can access sensitive data and services.

3. Certificate Pinning: Implement certificate pinning to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks by ensuring that your app only communicates with the intended server by verifying the server's certificate against a known, pre-configured certificate.

4. Mobile App Attestation: Integrate mobile app attestation solutions like Approov to verify the integrity and authenticity of your app before granting access to sensitive data or services. This helps prevent repackaged or tampered versions of your app from accessing your backend systems.

5. Device Checks: Implement checks to detect if the device has been rooted, jailbroken, or is running in an emulated environment, as these conditions can increase the risk of tampering or reverse-engineering attacks.

By adopting these security measures, mobile app developers can ensure that their apps are better equipped to operate securely across multiple app stores and payment systems, protecting users' data and complying with relevant regulations.

Embrace the DMA Opportunity

The EU Digital Markets Act presents an opportunity for mobile app developers to reach a broader audience and offer their apps and services through a variety of channels. However, it's crucial to prioritize security from the outset, implementing robust measures to protect users, data, and infrastructure.

By following the recommendations outlined above, developers can position themselves for success in the DMA era, offering secure and compliant apps that users can trust, regardless of the distribution channel or payment method.