6 Rules for Improving Security in Mobile App Development

Over 800 thousand mobile malware installation packages were detected on mobile devices in the second quarter of 2021, according to Statista. You must be aware that app security is essential, and it is impossible to achieve full-fledged security from threats and vulnerabilities. But, we can strive hard to maintain the security and quality of our projects and businesses.

Long story short, let’s understand mobile app security and know a list of rules you need to follow to improve mobile app security and stay safe for the long run.

What is mobile app security?

Mobile app security defines the protection measures of an app on mobile devices from fraudulent attacks such as malware, hacking, phishing, or other criminal manipulations.

Why is mobile app security important?  It enables users to protect confidential and private data, data loss, malware, virus attacks, and lawsuits against unprotected systems.

So, how can developers protect their apps from privacy risks and cyber assaults? We’ve compiled a list of rules which can help you improve security during mobile app development.

6 rules for improving security in mobile app development

Rule #1: Working with secure app code

Mobile security should always be taken into consideration during mobile app development. Before writing the code, approach mobile app development projects from business and technical perspectives. By doing so, you can quickly grasp the context and identify the potential threats and security vulnerabilities.

In addition, bugs and vulnerabilities in a code are also a starting point that most attackers use to break into an application. As per research, the malicious code affects over 11.6 million mobile devices at any given time. You need to keep your security code in mind from day one and harden the code. Minify and obfuscate your code so that it can’t be reverse-engineered.

Test repeatedly and fix bugs whenever they are exposed. Design the code so that it would be easier to update and patch. Keep your code agile; it would make your code easier to verify. Also, you can use code hardening, especially for banking applications.

Rule #2: Use high-level authentication

It’s undeniable that some of the most significant security breaches happen due to weak authentication. Therefore, it has become an increasingly important factor in using stronger authentication. Authentication means passwords and other personal identifiers, which act as a barrier to entry. So, a more significant part depends on the end-users of the application. Nevertheless, being a developer, it’s essential to encourage your users to be more sensitive towards authentication.

Also, design your apps that only accept solid alphanumeric passwords that must be renewed every 3 to 6 months. According to the study, the average business losses across all authentication weaknesses range from $39 million to $42 million.

Multi-factor authentication is also gaining prominence, consisting of a combination of static passwords and dynamic OTP. Furthermore, in the case of oversensitive apps, biometric authentication such as retina scans and fingerprints can also be used.

Rule #3: Understand the context of your business

It always has a great impact on security measures. Whether it is an app of an intelligence agency or a bank, every field has a different level of security. In addition, regional regulations like GDPR can also affect the new application, so IT leaders must be prepared to prioritize accordingly.

Rule #4: Use authorized APIs only

Do you know authentication schemes give a secure way of identifying the calling user? Unfortunately, if APIs are not authorized and loosely coded, they can intentionally offer different ways for hackers to misuse gravely.

For instance, caching authorization information locally can help programmers quickly reutilize the information while making API calls. It also makes coders’ lives easier by making it easier to use the APIs.

However, it also gives attackers a loophole to hijack privileges. Therefore, experts also recommend using authorized API in the mobile app code since using central authorization for the entire API to obtain maximum security during mobile app development services.

API calls are generally protected by a simple API key and user credentials. However, mobile apps are usually considered less secure. Since they are installed on a device, hackers can also install an app on a device that they can control to manipulate the application and find weaknesses. That’s why each API should require app-level authentication.

Rule #5: Perform penetration testing

Suppose businesses do not take software testing services seriously. In that case, mobile applications could not be released and accepted by the customers as the way companies want them to achieve their goals.

Security testing is always essential as it validates the app’s resistance to attacks from malicious users. Furthermore, from developers’ perspectives, it ensures they apply security practices while programming for mobile apps.

To apply security testing for mobile apps in a correct manner, it’s necessary to have a good understanding of penetration testing (or pen test). This testing is usually performed to improve web app firewalls (WAF).

To avoid attacks, adapt and modify web app firewalls security policies and patch the bugs before launching the mobile application. In actuality, penetration testing is independent of standard software testing. However, both of these testing methods are crucial to boosting the security of an application.

You need to make it personalized to review and test the written code earlier to test flaws and implement the improvements.

Rule #6: Encrypt all data

Encryption is scrambling plain text and translating it into an unreadable format called ‘ciphertext.’ This process helps mobile apps protect the confidentiality of digital data, either stored on the computer or transmitted through the Internet.

It is considered one of the most effective ways to save data from being exploited in a malicious way. Even if the mobile app data gets stolen, the hackers will not be able to decipher it. So, ultimately, it will be useless to them. So, this is the last but not the least rule that must be followed.

Conclusion

Developers should carefully consider the above-mentioned rules while working on their mobile app development projects. Although, It’s impossible to monitor or cover every area, ensuring a security level can help achieve a secured mobile application against serious threats.

Securing your app is always a life-long process, and it never ends. But, the above guidelines can help your users and clients be satisfied and happy.

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