Somebody needs to talk about the mobile app security and increasing susceptibility of us end users to the dangers of compromising personal data and information into the hands of people with malicious intent. Somebody need to address the concerns. We are doing what we can in the industry and the first step is to increase awareness.
Mobile application development platforms have helped in simplifying the entire process of application creation. Using advanced methods, intuitive platforms, simpler plugins, anyone can easily create his/her own mobile application. But, developing a useful and engaging mobile application takes a great toil and effort.
Integrating safe interface plays an important factor in the application development process. Developers have to be sure that the application is safe for users especially if it asks them for sensitive information in the form of personal details such as account password and username.
Be it meeting schedules, business data, personal messages or contact information we all store our data on mobile devices and it is a part of our daily lives. Also, many times we download applications from unauthenticated sources and unreliable app stores. These applications might contain malware and can negatively affect the business data. Where digitization and technology are so advanced, our personal data is at stake and there is a high possibility of getting the important data hacked and stolen in a fraction of time.
Let us see what reports and findings have to say:
Survey and Findings:
A report published by ARAXN found:
- 97% of top paid Android apps have been hacked
- 87% of top paid iOS apps have been hacked
- 80% of the most popular free Android apps have been hacked
- 75% of the most popular free iOS apps have been hacked
1- Weaker Server-side Controls
On the server-side of mobile application, we need to follow the secured coding and practices. The API should securely verify the identity and permission of the caller.
2- Doubtful Data Storage
Most of the time development teams have an impression that users or the malware will not have access to the files of the mobile device where sensitive information is stored.
3- Inapt Transport Layer Protection
It is a common misnomer that using SSL/TLS on your mobile application makes it ‘secure’ and there is no reason for worry. It’s not true.
4- Abrupt Data Leakage
There are many ways your data is viewed, copied, screen captured, backed-up and logged.
5- Bad Validation and Authorization
Even if mobile application users are validated once, it does not mean that their credentials are safe and secure, but they can be easily be stolen from the insecure wireless network. Also, remember that just because a user is authenticated once, does not mean he/she is authorized automatically for anything or anytime.
6- Security Decisions To Be Taken By Unreliable Sources
You cannot trust web service calls, hidden calls and IPC calls as these can be manipulated with the right (wrong?) set of tools.
7- Lack of Binary Protections
Your mobile can cause you a problem if it is reverse engineered, tampered or analyzed.
8- Broken Cryptography
By implementing encrypting or decrypting algorithm which is weak in nature can be directly decrypted by the conflict as the implementation architected is flawed.
Since, now we know that there are certain mobile app security concerns which need to be addressed properly, therefore let us know the best practices to be followed in order to secure mobile applications:
Best Practices For Securing Mobile Applications
There are some app security breaches which app developers must keep in mind in order to keep their mobile app secure. Below are some steps to implement mobile app security:
Securing Using Password
There should be a mandate on the use of passwords for all users as it provides high security to your application. For better security, the password should have minimum complexity requirement. For example, the password must at least have one character and it should be a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters.
It is a great way of keeping track of your progress. Making prototype for your application, you are creating restore points for the application. Unfortunately, if any of the feature and function fails, you can pick up app development process from the last successful prototype.
Data Access Permission
So, while the application gets installed it should ask users permission to access data such as contacts, hardware or files. Whenever you develop an application get those necessary requisites and never ask for sensitive information which your user may not be comfortable in providing you.
Updating Operating System
Mobile App Development companies which are engaged in developing mobile application keep updating the handsets with newer/latest versions of OS. This always involves new security guidelines with new features.
Implementing Encryption Policies
It is important to encrypt data at every step. Whether it is a communication between applications, back-end server or web services, it is important to encrypt. So, in case your application supports any kind of private data, it should be end-to-end encrypted.
A large amount of data gets transmitted between application, servers, and users, using API. These APIs should be verified and authorized for data access. Hence, it is important to implement secure API’s.
Using Reliable Certificates From The Device
Always develop your application for a variety of mobile devices. You must always mention the name of devices in the application description in case your application does not support any particular range of devices.
Rigorous Testing For An Application
It is very much crucial to follow religiously all methods of software testing. The code must be tested for vulnerabilities which can be rectified before your application is ready for publish on an app store. The relevant testing methods which must be followed are exploratory testing, regression testing, and even automated testing. Always prepare a timeline which explains what is the dedicated time you will be given for testing your application.
Although we all are aware of app security breaches and best practices to be followed, still IT departments ask to focus on below mention key areas for ensuring mobile app security.
1) Following Mobile Application Management (MAM):
It stops users from side loading public applications from unofficial app stores.
2) Incorporating devices with Mobile Content Management (MCM):
It provides an authenticated encrypted lockbox. This lockbox is a place where users can store messages, documents, email attachments etc.
3) Practising Reputation Analysis
Practicing reputation analysis which includes Enterprise mobility suites helps greatly. It helps in assessing mobile app risks and vulnerabilities in a much faster way.
4) Adopting Identity Management
Identity management allows IT in adhering to mobile app security policies. This management is based on authenticated user identity and can very well improve the user experience.
So, if you are looking for a highly secure mobile application, get in touch with a team of experienced mobile application development professionals who can give you a long-lasting and impactful change in your business.
To get a little more secure, check out these as well:
End To End Encryption (E2EE) – Secure Chats In Mobile Apps!
Mobile Data Security: Hot Tips to Reduce Risks
9 Best Practices for Deploying Top-Ranking Mobile Apps
References: dzone, securityintelligence, tristatetechnology, innoppl