Mobile App Security Best Practices all Developers Need to Follow
By Mehul Rajput
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In the highly advancing and constantly changing technology environment, application security is no more an additional feature or an advantageous aspect of the application but has turned out as a necessity for the application to be a success in the market.
For all the developers, app security remains to be of prime concern. A slight loophole or a breach in the security can be of high risk to the organization and the data stored in the application servers. Therefore, the developers are required to aim and deliver digital solutions with complete app security in mind.
A number of security breaches have continuously been a concern for the application holders towards the privacy of the data and information. With a minor break-in into the application, a lot of information is under threat to be used against the organization or the people associated and can cause great harm.
Let’s further talk about how app developers can help you secure your mobile app and make sure it is safe to be used.
Safeguarding Your Mobile App Security
Users of your application want a secure platform to interact and leverage the resources safely without any threat to their information.
Organizations have been striving hard and trying continuously to safeguard the platforms to be better secured and have enhanced standards of security. Some of the means to strengthen your application are:
1, Strength of Codes
A number of organizations continuously struggle to debug and restore the faults in the application. The bugs and faults in the coding structure make it easier for the attackers to break into your application and get access to all your data.
The coding structure must be strong enough to combat and prevent the external attackers to not be able to access and enter into the prohibited spaces in the application.
Code must be obfuscated and minified to prevent it from being reverse engineered and being tampered.
Quality assurance and testing of the application under a number of situations and regressive conditions should be of high importance to check the capabilities of the application.
A number of software and online testing platforms have been of high importance to generate quick reports for application strength. Developers also need to focus upon the code to be agile enough to be quickly updated and changed.
2. Encryption Can Save You
With a lot of critical information being shared and entered upon your application platform, it is important that all the information thus gained is stored and transferred without any possibility of threat and is safe.
A number of global leading application based organizations have been using the method of encryption for the data to be transferred and saved without any possible harm and can only be accessed by those having the key to its encryption.
Encryption thus promises to safeguard the data and prevent it to be accessed by anyone even after the data is stolen.
A number of intelligence organizations, as well as national security forces of a number of leading countries, have continuously been relying upon the process of encryption and consider it as one of the safest methods to transfer the data.
3. HTTPS – The Ultimate Tool
Weather, you want to or not to go for it, HTTPS has been guaranteeing a secure version of the HTTP protocol to secure the communication over computer networks and the internet.
The HTTPS protocol is secured by TLS (Transport Layer Security) as well as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) which are the cryptographic protocols to ensure the privacy of your data and maintain the integrity between a server and your application.
However, on the other side, HTTP is unencrypted, unverifiable, and unvalidated. This lets the attackers to easily sneak into the application and get access to your information.
4. External Libraries
A number of libraries may not be as useful as they may seem to be. Using third-party libraries is always a risk that may turn out to be advantageous in some cases though.
The codes being taken from the open community libraries and independent sources must be checked thoroughly before using them into your application. Controlled internal repositories and policy controls should be strictly followed in such cases.
5. Selection of APIs
Don’t let APIs be a curse for your application security. It’s important that the APIs are implemented carefully and authentically to integrate third-party libraries and services.
APIs have been of great use for the quick and easy app development process, but in recent times they have been posing cybersecurity risks.
Thus it is always beneficial to use a centralized authorization for maximum application security to be ensured.
5. Stronger Authentication
Some of the major security breaches happen because of the weak authentication processes.
Stronger regulations for passwords and other personal identifiers should be used and encouraged to maintain the secure entry of the users into the application and hence lead to a stronger multi-factor authentication process.
Strong alphanumeric passcodes are gaining importance for the same reason and which involve a combination of static password and dynamic OTP.
7. Testing and Updating
Securing the applications and online platforms is not something that can be done at a single attempt and left for the rest of the time. Securing an application is a long term and continually recurring process.
The application developed with stronger means and codes can turn out to be out-dated at some point of time and thus may be exposed to threats again.
Updating the application base regularly is necessary and thus important to maintain the efficiency of the platform.
Proper testing of thus created application and continual change in the faulty loopholes is the never-ending process to create a strong and secure platform to enter within the market.
8. Platform Specific Limitations
Developing an application for a specific platform or operating system should be keenly defined and well understood. Every platform has its own advantages as well as limitations that may pose a number of security issues for the application.
The developer must be comfortable with the platform to work upon further in the procedure and shall define clear goals and direction to the desired application development.
Possible Threats to Your Mobile Application
A number of hackers and attackers have been increasingly using their technical expertise to barge into the data-rich platforms and leverage their potential and value. A number of such people have been continuously tricking users of the applications and taking unethical advantages of the same.
Phishing has been coming up as a widely popular and increasingly used mechanism to fetch the users’ information, including your login credentials and security passwords, and misusing the information later causing great threats. A report by FireEye says that about 91% or more cyber breaches arise from the emails.
MITM (man-in-the-middle) attackers have been posing a high risk by intercepting between the on-going processes between two parties and hence breaching the right to privacy of the users. Nearly a quarter of devices of the corporates have connected to open and potentially insecure Wi-Fi networks and 4% of devices have encountered a man-in-the-middle attack in which someone maliciously intercepts communication between two parties.
Old information which is invalid can be found to be stored in the cache sometimes. This makes it difficult for the downloaded apps to not work properly in some cases or may cause an error to occur during a regular update. The cache should be cleared in order to remove invalid cached data.
Malicious coders also use obfuscation to hide and disguise the true purpose of their codes. This helps them prevent the detection of their malware by signature-based antimalware tools. The coders thus need to be precautious while coding and securing the applications.
Application security has come up as one of the biggest issues due to the continual increase of the number of users of the service and the potential of data they hold.
Mobile app security has become more than a choice and a necessity for the organizations to work upon in the constantly changing technological environment. Threats like Data Leakage, Network Spoofing, and Spyware caused great loses.
A number of steps can be taken to help eradicate the issue of security and give strength to the application. HTTPS, regular cleaning of cached data, and obfuscating codes are some of the means.
Mehul Rajput is a CEO and co-founder of Mindinventory, a mobile development company that provide web and mobile app solutions from startup to enterprise level company. His role involves heading the operations related to business and delivery with strategic planning and defining road-map for the future.