Mobile application security isn’t a benefit or a feature, it is a bare necessity. As one breach in the application could cost the business, not just thousands of dollars but a lifetime of trust from the customers. This is the main reason behind having high-level security in your app from the time it is being developed. Therefore, mobile app development companies should follow a specific process by keeping security a priority from the time they start writing the first line of code. Besides this, while the mobile app developers are busy creating the most innovative, intuitive, and exciting application, they should keep in mind that at which stage a hacker can break-in the system or which feature can be vulnerable.
To have a more clear idea about security in mobile app development and different practices that can be followed by developers to secure the development process and eventually give security to the application, let’s go through this blog.
Why Mobile Application Development Requires Security?
When we talk about securing the mobile application, the first thing is to secure the mobile app engineering process by searching, fixing, and enhancing the security of the developing app with the use of highly-scalable and secured methods and tools. If the tools or methods used for developing an application are not secured, then it might insert bugs or vulnerabilities in the code that can later catch the attention of hackers. Therefore, it is advisable that the developers think about the security of mobile app development and not just the security of the app after its launch.
Top 7 Best Practices for Mobile App Development Security
Mobile app security is a bigger concern than it seems and the reason behind it is that nowadays every organization or education institutes follow the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) concept which makes the employees or students merge their personal interests with professional ones into a single set of the device. Here are some of the best practices that mobile app development services providers follow to secure the app.
1. Usage of High-level Authentication
It is a fact that some of the major security breaches happen when there are issues with authentication. Therefore, it is important to secure authentication and make it stronger. To make it more clear, authentication means your passwords and other private information that you provide as an entry barrier. Its huge part depends on the end-users of the application. But mobile app programmers can encourage users to be sensitive about authentication by designing apps that only accept strong passwords that can be renewed every six months.
2. Writing Secure Code
The initial stage that gives the chance to the attackers to break-into the application is bugs and vulnerabilities in a source code. The hackers can try to reverse engineer the code created by the developers and tamper with it. And to do so, they just need a public copy of the application, which is quite easy to get. According to research, 11.6 million mobile devices are affected because of malicious code. To avoid all these things, the best option is to keep the code secure and for that, the developers need to harden the code. By making the code tough to break through can save the application from being hacked. The best example of such codes is, Obfuscate and minify, as they cannot be reverse-engineered.
Besides this, test the code repeatedly and fix bugs whenever they are exposed. In addition to this, the mobile app developer needs to make sure that the code is agile so it can be easily updated at the user end after the security breach.
3. Make Use of Authorized APIs
When APIs aren’t authorized and are not perfectly coded, they tend to unintentionally grant hacker benefits that can be misused. For instance, if the developer cache authorization information locally then they can resume that information every time an API is called. Therefore, caching can be sometimes useful. Besides, following this method can make an app developer’s life easy as he can easily use the APIs. But this might also give attackers or hackers a loophole through which they can enter the system and hijack it. Therefore, the mobile app engineering experts suggest that APIs must be authorized centrally to provide maximum security.
4. Encrypt All Data
While using the mobile application, every data that we exchange must be secured by the developers by encrypting it. Encryption is nothing but a simple way of scrambling plain text. The data can be encrypted until it is just an uncertain alphabet soup with not specifying its meaning to anyone except the one who has the encryption key. By following this method the mobile app development services providers can help the business in saving their data from any kind of theft or misuse.
5. Make Use of Latest Cryptography Techniques
When we talk about cryptography techniques, some of the most popular algorithms for cryptography like SHA1 and MD5 often become insufficient to provide security requirements. This simply proves that the developers and the business application owners should make sure that the applications are created using the latest technologies and these techniques need to be updated with the latest security algorithm. Therefore, whenever it is possible, the mobile app development companies must use modern encryption methods like SHA-256 for hashing, AES with 512-bit encryption, and 256-bit encryption. Besides this, it is also advisable to use manual penetration testing and threat modeling on the apps before launching them and providing them for the end-users.
6. Backend Security
Nowadays, the majority of mobile apps have a client-server mechanism. Therefore, it is important for the engineering team to take care of the security measures against malicious attacks, especially for the backend servers. Besides this, some of the developers assume that the application that is created using APIs can access it. But, it is necessary for them to verify all the APIs in accordance with the mobile application platform. For this, it is important for the developers to aim the code as the API transport and authentication mechanisms can differ from one platform to another.
7. Avoid using Sensitive Data
Every application or website requires some of the sensitive data of the business. In order to protect it from the users, the majority of the mobile app programmers prefer to store the data in the local memory of their device. But, one of the best solutions for this is to avoid storing sensitive data as there are chances that it might increase the security risk. And if it is necessary to store the data then it is better to use key chains or encrypted data containers.
To sum it up, creating a mobile application that is completely safe is tough, but there are different practices that a mobile app developer can use to make the mobile apps more resilient against attackers. Here, protecting the user data is one of the most important factors that need to be taken care of. And to do so, implementation of the above-mentioned mobile app security best practices can help the mobile app programmers in avoiding the common security risks by creating a safer application for the users.