18 May 2018

5 Great Ways To Enhance Mobile App Security

As more and more businesses start inclining towards having a presence in the app stores, it is becoming considerably hard to keep personal details on your mobile secure. Amateur developers make the mistake of not using adequate security measures to protect data.

18 May 2018
As more and more businesses start inclining towards having a presence in the app stores, it is becoming considerably hard to keep personal details on your mobile secure. Amateur developers make the mistake of not using adequate security measures to protect data in their app which poses a significant threat to the user’s privacy.
We communicate with our phones more than we talk to our family and friends. Your phone knows the deepest secrets that you wouldn’t generally share with anyone. It knows where you were at a given point of time, what were you browsing for last night and even the hobbies that you might not have pursued over time. Naturally, your data is extremely private, and it would be a great breach of security if some app would compromise it.

5 Great Ways To Enhance Mobile App Security

According to Arxan, all of the Top 100 Paid apps on the Google Play Store have been hacked. The number was considerably lower but still massive by any means for iOS App Store at 56%. Although Google releases security patches at regular intervals, not all manufacturers take the time to implement them.


So if you are an app developer that is cautious about App Security then you should take care of these five things:


  • Encrypt App Code;

    Unfortunately, security is the last place where businesses are willing to spend money when developing a cost-effective mobile application. It is only later that they realize the importance of security features in an app. However, mobile app security is something that produces the best results if implemented from day one.


    The security of the app should be a part of the app development since the inception of the idea. Taking security measures once the app is already available on app stores is never adequate.


    Specific vulnerabilities find their way into the app due to the weak coding and developing errors. Extensive testing should be performed before the app is released to the public.


    Make sure you do everything that is expected of a great app developer. Run sources code scanning, and encrypt the whole app code so that it is hard to read and is safe from people having malicious intent.


  • Architecture;

    As we mentioned earlier, the security of your mobile application should be a concern right from the initial stages which can ensure better results in the long run. Your application will consist of three layers – presentation layer, business layer, and the data layer.


    How the user interacts with the app depends on the presentation layer. The business later takes care of workflow and business components. The data layer consists of data related factors like data access components, data helpers, and service agents.


    Your app architecture should be highly efficient in securing the data of the user so that no malicious program can access it. Choosing to save highly critical personal information or credit card details may still pose a great threat to user data.


  • Backend Connection;

    Another essential security measure that needs to be in place is the presence of a secure backend connection. The Application Programming Interface (API) communicates with the servers on the cloud, and it is possible that some vulnerability might travel along with them. It is critical to ensure that communications are carried over using only HTTPS connection which will protect the data from external attacks.


    This brings us to the more significant issue – SSL. Unfortunately, we have seen a faulty implementation of SSL by amateur developers very often. These developers aren’t well educated about the SSL Applications which leaves the user data at risk. The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates were found to be unverified, which is an open invitation for hackers to attack the mobile application.


    Believing that only app APIs will access the servers is the most prominent sign of an amateur. In fact, it is the most vulnerable place where the user data can be compromised from.


  • Data Storage;

    Almost all developers store user data on the device or cloud servers which makes the app function more effectively. Sometimes it is only done to feed relevant ads to the user. However, if you really must store user data make sure it isn’t easy to access. The user data needs to be encrypted using modern techniques that are available today. But that too is a half-baked solution since anyone with the right mind can query it.


    Alternatively, you can try to store the data in a complex manner which doesn’t seem to be useful to hackers. Saving the data in a simple and readable format is the most basic mistakes that developers make. It still is the best practice to not to save much user data that might be irrelevant to you. Save all the data on the cloud as even encrypted data isn’t secure on the device.


    Always ensure you use a 256-bit key for encryption and SHA-256 for hashing.


  • Test the App Extensively;

    We understand how deadlines can be complicated to avoid. But you need to take several appropriate measures to ensure the security of the app before making it available to the public. Test the app extensively to look for vulnerabilities and security risks. One of the best ways to do that is taking the beta testing route.


    You could always be extra cautious by performing penetration testing. Try to exploit the vulnerabilities you could find to find what threat they pose to the user’s data. Use emulators for devices, operating systems, and browsers to examine how the app behaves in those environments.


    Testing the app before it goes public could also help you encounter various functionality issues and bugs that could have made it into the final version. The users who download your app from respective app stores will be looking for a bug-free experience and perfect user interface.


    People use mobile apps for simple stuff like order food and shop for clothing to more sophisticated things like app banking. These apps require the user to input personal details which are then saved onto the device or the cloud. It is the job of the developer to ensure maximum security from people with malicious intent since sensitive information like bank details can also be sometimes compromised.

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