When you’re developing an app for a business or an individual, besides fueling it with the latest tech and premium features, you need to pay equal attention to making it safe.
The usage of mobile for exploring the web, availing web-based services, and making the most of the real-time experience, has increased over the years.
As per some recent statistics, the number of smartphone users throughout the world is 3.8 billion, which is roughly 48% of the world’s total population.
This tells us how so many people are dependent on mobile phones and mobile apps to access the web. This also indicated how these users are constantly exposed to cyber threats.
For mobile app developers involved in android and iOS app development, it is crucial to pay attention to the safety of mobile apps.
This will ensure the safety of mobile users, preventing cyber-attacks and other security-related troubles. But how would you do that? Let us give you a list of the 10 best mobile app security practices that every developer must follow:
Table of Contents
- 1) Write a Secure and Agile Code
- 2) Use High-Level Methods of Authentication and Authorization
- 3) Don’t Let Your App Ask Too Many Questions
- 4) Don’t Forget About Data Encryption
- 5) Carefully Use the Libraries
- 6) Make the App Secure at The Backend
- 7) Deploy the Latest Security Technology
- 8) Get a Code Signing Certificate
- 9) Carry Out Threat Assessment for your App
- 10) Perform Constant Testing and Quality Assurance
1) Write a Secure and Agile Code
This is a no-brainer but we cannot miss it! For an app’s security breach, the attackers usually look for bugs and loopholes in the code.
Usually, they tamper with the code and attack the apps, breaking into them by reverse-engineering the code.
So, to avoid such malicious activities and attacks on your app, you need to start by making your code hard, secure, and agile. The code must be written in a way that it can easily be patched or updated.
For this, keep on testing the app and fix all the bugs that you come across by code signing and code hardening. Also, don’t forget to encrypt the source code to avoid reverse engineering and cyber attacks.
2) Use High-Level Methods of Authentication and Authorization
For better security, you need to focus on incorporating safe authentication and authorization methods within the app.
From securing the user’s password to implementing multi-factor authentication, use all the required methods for better security of the app.
In the case of an app that holds very sensitive and confidential information of the users, you need to make provisions for users to log in again for new sessions. This can be seen in mobile applications from financial institutions or banks.
3) Don’t Let Your App Ask Too Many Questions
It is evident for mobile apps to ask for permissions like permission to use the camera, the audio recorder, and even the image gallery. However, do not let your app ask for unnecessary permissions.
For instance, if your app doesn’t require access to your service messages, there is no need to make provisions for the same. The fewer permissions your app asks for, the safer it would be and users will trust it more.
4) Don’t Forget About Data Encryption
In case your app involves the transfer of data from one user to another, make sure the data is encrypted to ensure safety.
Through encryption, the data files are scrambled in just a bunch of alphabets. So, even if someone got their hands on the data, they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it as it is tough to decipher encrypted data.
A developer must take measures to encrypt every bit of data from end to end. Once the data is encrypted, the attackers cannot misuse the data, even if they have the key to it.
5) Carefully Use the Libraries
When you’re using third-party libraries, be aware of the threats they can pose to your mobile app.
You need to be careful while using these libraries and test them aggressively before using them for your mobile app.
No matter how useful these libraries seem, they might be very harmful to the app. So, be double-sure that the libraries are safe through policy acquisition controls and internal repositories.
6) Make the App Secure at The Backend
Many mobile applications are developed to operate on a client-server basis. This is why it is crucial to secure the app at the backend server and secure it from cyber-attacks there.
For this, you need to make sure that your API authentication is secure.
This is because unlike popular beliefs, the app designed to access the APIs doesn’t only access the APIs. The mobile platform where the app runs need to also be considered for the same. This is because once the platform is switched the API authentication can also deviate. This might lead to an insecure backend, leading to a security breach.
7) Deploy the Latest Security Technology
Technology has advanced beyond our imagination and we can now make things as safe on the internet as they can be.
Something similar can be done by implementing tamper-detection techniques within your app which will allow the app to set off an alert when something suspicious happens.
So, if someone tries to tamper the code or inject harmful elements into the code, you will get an alert, and safety measures can be taken.
8) Get a Code Signing Certificate
A code signing certificate helps you encrypt and sign your code and a certificate is issued under the developer’s name. This certificate lets you publish the developer’s name with the app. This ensures that the app has come from a trusted source and its code is not tampered with. If you’re an experienced developer, you must already know about this.
9) Carry Out Threat Assessment for your App
It’s evident that a mobile app is prone to cyber-attacks and is exposed to many threats every day. So, analyzing threats in advance will help you prepare for future threats once the app is live. For this, you need to calculate the probability of the attacks and the impact of the said attack.
Once you have that information, you will be able to calculate the risk. Make a questionnaire and find answers to it. Prepare a list of possible threats, the damage they can do, and how you can protect your app from them.
10) Perform Constant Testing and Quality Assurance
When you’re developing an app, you come across bugs and vulnerabilities in your code. Keep on testing the app till you get rid of all those bugs. Also, once the app is ready, you need to test it against all the possible threats and security scenarios it might face.
The testing and quality assurance phase will be made simpler and faster by the threat assessment we discussed above. With techniques like penetration testing, keep on testing your app till it is completely bug-free and secure for the end-users.
So, this was all about the top 10 mobile app security practices that developers must follow. If you’re looking for more help with your app development process, getting in touch with the customers would be the best bet!
Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, IoT, ChatBot & Blockchain savvy, designer, co-founder, Director of eSparkBiz Technologies. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on IoT and ChatBot.