Things to Consider When Developing a Mobile Application
Things to Consider When Developing a Mobile Application
Protecting communication to servers, planning for physical security breaches, and patching apps can help you secure your mobile application.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Mobile application development has overwhelmed news features for a long time now. Mobile usage has grown more rapidly than ever before. Today, it looks like every firm has its own mobile app. Mobile app development is a tool to attract, engage, and retain your customers.
The best part about mobile applications is that they have begun to make our lives for effortless and comfortable. The downside is that the more famous these mobile apps become, the more susceptible they are to being hacked. As apps become more integrated into our individual and professional lives, and we use mobile phones to transfer important business data or perform financial related exchanges, our valuable data is at a higher risk of being misused and hacked. It is important to implement effective security efforts across every stage of mobile app development.
Here are some important tips to build next generation secure mobile apps.
1. Don't Rely on Built-In Platform Security Completely
If you believe that you can ignore the importance of mobile app security because you have chosen native app development platforms, you are incorrect. You may have an idea that iOS is a closed platform, and thus, is the most secured. In any case, you may not know that even iOS is not 100% safe against cyber attacks and hackers' threats.
Android provides more adaptability to developers. If your development work is based on C++, then there is less chance to be hacked and becomes difficult for hackers to hack the existing code. On the other side, Java is not very difficult to jailbreak and malicious codes can be easily inserted by hackers. So, be it iOS, Android, or any other platform, all have their limitations. This means you should not fully depend on their built-in security systems.
2. Develop Multi-Level Authentication
Passwords no longer give 100% assurance from malicious activities. They can be easily forgotten or hacked. Indeed, once in a while, passwords are simple to the extent that anybody could basically figure it out with only a couple tries. Furthermore, for mobile apps that access or store very important information, getting a password hacked can mean a huge loss. Users want a highly robust security system in mobile apps.
Multilevel authentication should be helpful where passwords are not just the only solution. In this system, when a user processes for login, the app sends a randomly generated code through a registered email ID or text message to a registered mobile number. Only when the user enters the code, in addition to the password, will he or she be allowed to access the app.
3. Adopt the Approach of Least Privilege
When you are going to develop a mobile app, ensure that it requests user permissions that are mainly required for the core functioning of the mobile app. It should not have your users get confused; “why does this photo editing mobile app require access to my text messages?” By having your app require permissions that are important, you should be sure about a parameter of user data safety and security. In the meantime, you reduce the possibility of being put down by informed users who tend to avoid applications that request pointless permissions.
4. Prevent Unsafe Important Data Transmission
Smartphones are especially powerless to security threats because they frequently use Wi-Fi, which is considered insecure. Also, more than one-third of IT experts don't encrypt important information that they send through mobile devices. As a mobile app developer, it is your responsibility to ensure that important information on your application is secured in transit. You should use a highly secure and end-to-end encryption process, like TLS or SSL encryption, when users send important information. In the meantime, you should not attempt to override the built-in platform trust manager. This may make hackers to execute man-in-the-middle attacks using fake SSL certificates.
5. Limit Data Caching Vulnerabilities
Smartphones tend to store temporary data to provide faster caching. This will increase speed as compared to PC and laptops. Data caching, or the process of storing temporary data makes smartphones more prone to security concerns. Hackers can get cached data easily, which regularly uncovers user activities, app, or website access via the smartphones. Providing password protection to use a mobile app can help, however programming the app to naturally erase the cache whenever the device restarts is a decent approach to guarantee security.
6. Don't Save Passwords or Key Data in the Application
Regularly, developers utilize hard coded keys and passwords as an alternative to developing an app whose security is simpler to execute, debug, and support. However, this creates a possibility of hacking and security concerns. These secret keys and passwords are stored in the app. Hackers can easily reverse engineer app binaries to crack the hard coded keys and passwords. This makes the app security framework or password protection system highly ineffective.
This is just an overview of some security concerns and how to adapt to them. The scope of mobile app security is broad, and implementing the above ideas to protect communication to servers, planning for physical security breaches, and patching apps can help you secure your mobile application.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.