Security has been an age-old issue in mobile app development. Mobile apps are now the primary mode of conducting day-to-day and official operations for a large number of people. Apps executing financial transactions, or ones with access to personal information and sensitive data, have been prime targets for data leaks and attacks.
With cyberattacks on the rise and large enterprises all across the globe falling victims to data breaches, as an app developer, you must take active measures to ensure the security of your apps.
Let’s discuss some of the crucial aspects of securing your mobile apps, that will help you protect users’ safety and the app’s credibility.
Why Developers Must Ensure Mobile App Security
- Customer Trust and Market Reputation
As a business, if you follow basic security measures, you are less likely to fall victim to cyberattacks. This will safeguard your app’s market reputation, ultimately driving business growth.
- Time and Resources
Detecting vulnerabilities in the early stages of development and mitigating them along the way, you can save a lot of time and resources.
- Compliance and Regulations
Implementing security measures while developing your mobile app will help you comply with security standards and regulations like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, etc. that are mandated by cybersecurity law.
Best Practices for Developing Secure Mobile Apps
Here are some crucial measures you must take during the development process, in order to develop a secure mobile app for your customers.
Encrypting the Source Code
With native apps, the source code at your client’s end is susceptible to malware attacks targeting the vulnerabilities within the code and design. Your popular app can be reverse-engineered and repacked into a rogue app that unsuspecting users would not be able to recognize as a fake, once it’s uploaded on a third-party app store. Losing personal data through such rogue apps can make users lose trust in your app, ruining your business’s reputation.
To prevent such security threats, during app development, you must incorporate tools for identifying and mitigating security-related bugs. You can also ensure that the app can prevent reverse-engineering attacks, by encrypting the source code, rendering it unreadable by malware.
Practicing Database and File-Level Encryption
An app’s sandbox accesses confidential, unstructured data stored in local file systems or device storage databases. The lack of efficient encryption of data in the sandbox environment is a major security vulnerability for the app.
You can ensure the security of data in the sandbox, implement file-level encryption across all platforms, and database encryption using SQLite Database Encryption Modules.
Leveraging Latest Cryptography Techniques
Popular cryptography algorithms, such as MD5 and SHA1 are now falling short, faced with rapidly increasing security requirements. Keep your app development updated with the latest security algorithms, and adopt modern encryption methods like AES with 512-bit encryption, 256-bit encryption & SHA-256 for hashing.
Conducting Extensive Penetration Tests
Prior to deployment, test your app against random security scenarios. By being able to detect security loopholes early on, you will be able to prevent them from snowballing into potential vulnerabilities that can be exploited to access user data. If possible, conduct thorough manual penetration testing and threat modeling on your app before the final launch.
Implementing High-level Authentication
Proper authentication is one of the crucial measures to prevent security breaches. Encourage your app’s users to practice authentication, by designing the app with the requirement of strong alphanumeric passwords from users, which need to be changed periodically. For extremely sensitive apps, you can ensure high-level authentication by strengthening the app’s security with biometric or retina scans.
Minimizing the Storage of Sensitive Data
While it is common to store sensitive data in the device’s local memory to protect it from users, data security threats can be substantially reduced by avoiding the storage of sensitive data altogether. However, if doing away with data storage is not possible for your app, it is recommended that you use data containers or security keychains, while also implementing mechanisms for deleting data automatically after a specified duration.
Securing the Backend
With most apps operating on a client-server mechanism, you must also ensure the security of your backend servers to protect them against attacks. If your app accesses APIs, properly verify the security of API authentications and transport mechanisms, as these can differ across platforms.
Securing In-Transit Data
Sensitive user data transmitted to servers from the client can be protected against data theft and privacy leaks, by using an SSL or a VPN tunnel.
Data security is an area of mobile app development that no business can afford to compromise on, especially now, when users have become exceedingly perceptive about the importance of their data privacy.
There is no denying that secure coding practices and running thorough tests go a long way in ensuring the security of your mobile apps. However, with all that said and done, the techniques and mechanisms for cyber security threats will only keep getting better. You must keep up with the latest innovations in mobile app and data security to be able to effectively protect your customers from newer, advanced security threats and attacks.
With the goalposts for data security always shifting, your app’s security could be better served by the right software development partner with extensive expertise in the latest industry practices.
At Josh Software, we create highly-secure and reliable mobile apps for leading businesses all over the globe, by following proven security best practices and implementing ironclad security testing methods. Our team of expert professionals can help you reinforce the security of your app while providing round-the-clock technical support to mitigate unexpected security issues. If you want to equip your mobile app with the strongest security measures, and provide your customers with a seamless user experience at the same time, reach out to us today.
Build highly secure mobile apps that earn your customers’ trust, with Josh Software.
Reach out to us to know more.