It was not long ago that mobile apps were a rare sight. The evolution and rise in the usage of smartphones, along with accelerated digital transformation initiatives, have prompted great trends in mobile app development. Today, mobile apps have become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Mobile apps provide a significant level of accessibility and connectivity, be it for personal use or professional. Today, there are apps for anything and everything – from workflow automation and process management to banking and shopping.

 

However, the increased dependency on mobile apps also brings significant challenges. Cybersecurity is one of the most critical challenges in the industry today. A data breach in the app’s security could leak your personal information. The responsibility of avoiding data leaks and securing an app falls to the app developers – they need to realize that app security is not just a feature or a privilege anymore; it has become a bare necessity. One of the most recent popular examples of data breach happened back in 2019 with a major data leak in WhatsApp.

 

So what exactly do app developers need to do to ensure top-notch security for their mobile apps? Here are the top ten safe practices that ensure the safety of a mobile app:

 

Create a Secure Code

Rule number one to keep in mind regarding mobile app security is creating a robust, tough-to-crack code. To breach any app, the first thing a mobile malware does is attack the code. Reverse engineering the code with various tools available on the internet can easily expose sensitive information. An agile, up-to-date, unintelligible, and easy-to-patch code is the first step towards a secure app.

 

Encrypt All Data

Encrypting the user data is the most powerful tool in reducing an app’s susceptibility to hacking. Data without encryption exposes the sensitive information as plain text, whereas encrypted data cannot be inspected without matching it with a secret key. Encrypting every single unit of data can prevent the misuse of stolen data.

 

Manage Session Handling

Deploying proper session handling and session expiration techniques can do wonders for an app’s security. As opposed to website sessions, mobile app sessions have a longer duration, which can in turn, burden the servers. Using tokens to identify a session can protect a device if it’s lost or stolen. The session expiration technique involves remote logging off and wiping of data from a lost or stolen device. 

 

Deploy Proper Key Management

Key management is critical to ensuring the success of your data encryption. It is essential to store these keys in secure containers and not locally on a user’s device. Hard coding keys can leave them vulnerable to attackers who can easily steal and gain control of a device.  Developers should use proper cryptographic protocols and up-to-date encryption standards for hashing. 

 

Suggested read: How AI and ML are Influencing Mobile App Development

 

Use Libraries With Caution

No doubt, third-party libraries ease and speed up the app development process. However, they come with some potential threats, such as the ability to attack and crash a system remotely with malicious code. Developers must create policies and regulate the use of internal repositories to reduce threats from libraries.

 

Use Authorized APIs

The use of loosely coded and unauthorized APIs is an open invitation to attackers to hack your system. Developers can double down on their security by leveraging centrally authorized APIs. 

 

Use High-Level Authentication

This practice largely depends on the end-users, as they are in charge of creating passwords and personal identifiers. However, developers can regulate the authentication process of an app as well. For instance, the deployment of multifactor authentication, which uses a fixed password and an OTP (one-time-password), can cover up for weak passwords that can be easily guessed by hackers and add an extra layer of security while logging in. 

 

Employ Anti-Tamper and Tamper-Detection Techniques

Anti-tamper and tamper-detection techniques are the best arrows in your quiver. By employing these techniques, they will cease the code from working if it’s modified or if a malicious code is detected and immediately alert the developers as well. 

 

Reduce the Number of App Permissions

While permissions enhance the effectiveness and flexibility of an app, they can be a threat to the app’s security. Asking for unnecessary permissions beyond the functions of an app should be avoided. Developers should regulate the permissions an app seeks and perform continuous threat modeling.

 

Test Repeatedly

The development of new bugs and vulnerabilities calls for a need to develop new security solutions. The most important practice is to test the app repeatedly. Deploying penetration testing and continuous threat modeling checks your app for threats that can be patched with each update.

 

Over 80% of the apps from prominent categories such as banking, communication, and budgeting contained known vulnerabilities, according to a recent survey. The end-users, too are becoming more cautious about the apps they use and their privacy concerns. Developers need to realize that the security of an app truly reigns over aesthetics and the user experience. To learn more about how we can help you with your app development, talk to our experts today. Write to us at contact@vsplc.com.

 

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