How to improve Mobile Application Security?


A new mobile application is launched every day into the market. To be truthful, there is no exact figure of the actual number of mobile applications released every day. But according to Sensor Tower, the app store is expected to reach 5 million apps by the year 2020. Practically every business today has an application supporting their operations. There are tons of things that make masses use a mobile application. They don’t just look for good user-experience but expect it to be safe as well.

A secure mobile application is necessary if you need to hit the audience interests better. The last thing you want is releasing a mobile application to the market with a major security flaw. To make sure your mobile application is secure follow these tips before you get started.

Mobile App Development: Steps to take to avoid security compromise

You have to outsmart hackers because your business reputation will be jeopardized if you allow your customer information to be compromised.

1. Protecting the App’s Code

You have to be more careful with the source code when you are developing native mobile applications. Unlike traditional web application, where the functionalities/data present in the backend servers will be accessed by end users. Where the code of your web application will be secure within the cloud/backend/data center, your native mobile application does not enjoy such privileges.

In the case of your native app, the code will be available on the client, making it easily vulnerable to hackers. Anyone downloading your mobile app can view and access source code and take advantage of app vulnerabilities. The possibilities are they can reverse engineer the app, access your IP and the personal information of your end users.

How to avoid this?

  • API Encryption:

Obfuscation and minification make your code hard to read but is not sufficient. Go with API encryption and protect your source code from potential hackers.

  • Keep the Code Agile:

Latest software updates prevent the data breach. Hence the app code should be easy towards latest patch updates.

  • Scan Code for Vulnerabilities:

Code vulnerability threatens the confidentiality and integrity of the mobile application. So scan your application code and fix the issues.

2. Securing the Back-end Network Connections

The mobile application data will be vulnerable when the application API tries to access servers and cloud servers.

The best advice is you have to use virtual private network (VPN) or SSL. You will make sure that data sent/passed from client to the app’s database do not threaten the integrity.

Another method to protect data is instead of encrypting files, you can store them in an encrypted container. It’s also recommended you consult and take the assistance of a network security specialist to conduct penetrating testing.

3. Making use of the best Authentication & Authorization Technology

Login verification is an extra layer of security to your mobile application. You can improve security to the login procedure in numerous ways.

  • If you are using API from some other source for your application code, you will be more vulnerable to hackers. In such cases, you have to make sure that the API is able to access only the relevant parts of your code.
  • Consider using OAuth2. It is a protocol that allows applications with secure delegated access or say, it supports authorization workflows.
  • Use JSON web tokens and implement authentication mechanism for the application.
  • Another protocol to secure the login process is OpenID Connect. It’s a federation protocol designed specifically for mobile. Users will experience minimum password security risks as they can reuse their credentials across multiple domains with an ID token.

4. Good Encryption Policy for Protecting Customer Data

As the data will be locally stored on the device, the customer information will be vulnerable to attacks. You’ll be ultimately taken into responsibility if any customer data is lost or stolen.

Hackers/cybercriminals can easily hack into the database and get access to the sensitive client data.

One of the most effective methods to protect sensitive client information is through data encryption. You can start with File-level encryption. Here the data will be protected on a file-by-file basis. You can even encrypt the mobile database and protect customer credentials.

Also, while designing a mobile application, you can make sure that the data/information is not stored on the device.

5. Implementing best API Security Strategy

You enable data flow between different users, applications, and the cloud through API. Hence, API security becomes paramount.

How to build a secure API?

Make use of identification, authentication, and authorization, which are the three fundamentals that account for a well-built API security stack.

6. Test for Code Vulnerabilities

You can go with vulnerability assessment and penetration testing to identify weak links in your software code. Its common developers make functionality and usability testing their top priority before they leave an application into the market. It’s also needed they give equal importance to the security of the mobile application before it is out for the end-users.

7. Advice your End-Users

Apart from software developers, even the end-users have to be responsible from their end for avoiding security-related issues.

The end-users should make use of secure devices. They have to avoid jailbreaking and rooting, as the process gives unrestricted access to the entire file system.

In other words, giving root access to your device, you will increase the data vulnerability. One more thing, end-users should make sure they are using trusted app stores for downloading the applications.

8. Be Cautious with BYOD Policy

Bring Your Own Device aka BYOD, is a policy where you allow your employees to bring their own device for improving their convenience to work. Doing so, you also give a lot of possibilities that can threaten the integrity and security of information accessed over the network across multiple devices.

Even your best IT division will face with challenges monitoring the corporate data over the large unsecured network.

Tip?

  • Developers can implement (MDM) Mobile Device Management solution, so IT administrators can centrally manage every device making security settings and software configurations connected to the company network.
  • You can make use of the firewall, anti-spam, and anti-virus software and prevent unauthorized users.

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