12 Best Mobile App Security Practices You Should Be Aware Of

By Harikrishna Kundariya Mobile December 31, 2018 10 min read 886 Views

Security for application is a mandatory requirement for any application. Any breach in the application could hamper the important information. In this blog, we will put emphasis on the Mobile App Security Practices.

With a single break-in, a hacker could know each and every detail about a user. The hackers are always on the prowl for information and data which they can misuse to commit a crime. So, it is very important to have security measures in the application.

The hackers are not going to stop, and so it is the developer’s duty to inform a client about extensive measures to protect the application and secure the information.

Below are the top security measures that could secure the data from the script kiddie:

The developers who are going to build an application should have the experience. This isn’t the task of a newbie.

Also, an app owner cannot trust someone with a little bit of experience. In order to restrain the hacker from entering into an application, one should trust the company which has years of experience in Mobile App Development.

Below are the Mobile App Security Practices that need to be taken care:

Mobile Application Security Practices

1. Coding Should Be Secure

Coding is the initial point from where a hacker tries to enter into an application. Any bug or error would be an opportunity for a hacker to fetch vital information from it. It is the first and foremost Mobile App Security Practices that an attacker tries to decode.

The hacker knows the tricks of reverse engineering that can be helpful to fool the system and enter into it. Recently, Whatsapp has been badly hit by Spyware. There are ways to make difficult reverse engineering.

Secure Coding

The developer can protect it from:

  • Data loss
  • Unauthorized Access
  • Bypassing and other controls
  • Detection of Vulnerabilities

According to reports, around 620M accounts stolen via a breach of security from 16 websites, which results in the selling of vital data and information on the dark web.

Harden your code to restrict the entry of any black hat. The developer can obfuscate the code so that any tampering could be restricted. You have to do regular testing to eradicate the bugs and make it completely secure from breaches.

Obfuscating code attracts ample benefits such as concealing information and implicit values embedded in it.

The code obfuscate includes:

  • Encrypting Code
  • Sorting out revealing Metadata
  • Renaming class and providing variable names to meaningless labels
  • Addition of Unused or Meaningless Code to apps binary.

Tip: A developer should keep code agile so that you can update the code anytime post the breach in the code. Code hardening and code signing are the best things to do for writing code.

2. Encrypting Data

Encryption means coding a message in such a way that only authorized parties can have access to it. Securing source code is not only Mobile App Security Practices to follow. It also requires securing the data that is being stored on the device.

The only way to secure the data from a hacker is encryption, so try to build an app in a way that every data is very well encrypted. Encryption is powerful because nobody in the world can decode it without permission.

3. Libraries Can Be Vulnerable

Libraries are a third-party medium a developer uses to develop an application. Mobile App Security testing is important before using it in the application. The library is a collection of third-party codes. These codes can be useful while integrating third-party apps to the actual apps.

They are vulnerable to cyber attacks in case if they are open. So, there are high chances of an open library in Android as compared to iOS. iOS platform is secure from vulnerability because it has a closed library.

While using a third-party library, a developer should double-check the code as it can be vulnerable. There should be a use of controlled repositories to protect the application from cyber-attack in libraries.

4. Always Use the Authorized APIs

Authenticated APIs

Following Mobile App Security Practices is important for every app owner, and that is the reason a developer should craft an app that gives all-round protection. The integration of a third-party app to the actual application is one of the reasons for vulnerability.

Integrating third-party applications to actual apps requires a bridge, aka APIs. APIs can also be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. In this case, a developer should always use authorized APIs that provide security against malicious bugs and glitches.

If there are unauthorized APIs, then there are high chances that a hacker gets access to the system. And, the APIs that are loosely coded can also also become the reason for cyber attacks.

5. High-Level Authentication

Authentication is a process of securing personal information with a password to restrict the entry of malicious users. It is also one of the factors that tend to be the reason for vulnerability. There are high chances of cyber-attacks if the authentication process is weak.

Developers should design a password that contains alphanumeric symbols so that it becomes difficult to decode.

Also, a multi-factor or OTP authentication could secure the application. Recently, fingerprint and retina scan is emerging as the safest way to secure it from compromising.

Furthermore, there are various mobile app authentication methods as follows:

  • Token-Based
  • Basic HTTP
  • Session-Based
  • JWT (JSON Web Token)

6. Install Tamper Detection

The malicious user follows a common practice of tampering with code. For this purpose, a developer can set off alerts that trigger when there is a practice of such activity. Active tamper detection restricts modification of code.

Anti-tampering is a process where an obfuscator injects app protection into the source code. It protects the app from an activity that compromises data security.

Installing anti-tampering can prevent data theft by shutting down the app or limiting the functionality of it. Also, it can receive information about the tampering attempts from service.

There are various ways to detect mobile security flaws:

  • Signature verification
  • App installer identification
  • Activity logs
  • Environment checks

7. Apply Least Privilege Principle

Least Privilege Principle

The least privilege principle applies to the code allowing it to run only with permission.

Any developer should craft an application that asks for required permission to function, and not more than that.

Asking for too much permission might hamper the reputation of the app owner and also a user might uninstall the application.

Tip: Perform continuous threat modeling ways to lower the risk of a malicious attack on the application.

Read also: How Enterprise Mobility Security Fights Off Threats For Your Business?

8. Install Session Handling

The handling of servers faces difficulty because mobile sessions take lasts longer than desktop. Also, it becomes harder to trace the server via device identifiers. However, token are preferable options in tracing the servers as it can give an idea about the server to developers.

Also, tokens are easily revokable which makes them secure if the device is stolen or lost. When there is a risk of theft, a developer can enable remote wiping of data, and also remote lof-off. The advantage of remote wiping is securing our system from any kind of vulnerability.

9. Apply Cryptography Tools & Techniques

Key management focuses on encryption, and it is effective if it doesn’t have to pay off. Do not hard code the keys because that becomes an advantage for the attackers to steal the information.

A developer should have a habit of storing keys in a container and not locally. MD5 and SHA1 have proven to be insufficient by modern security standards. You can trust on 256-bit AES are trustworthy APIs for hashing.

An app owner has to know Mobile App Security Issues to restrain the hacker continuously trying to gain access to an application.

10. Continuous Testing

Every application requires continuous and robust testing of it. The application is vulnerable if untouched for a longer period of time. Improper mobile app security testing could attract vulnerability. Hence, it is important for a developer to test the apps regularly.

The priority should make an investment in tools and techniques that helps to secure an application.

Penetration testing, threat modeling, and emulators are ways to test the application. Investing in such tools could make your application preferable in the market. The users want an application that secures their information and provides the service for which they have installed the app.

Testing attracts cost which is a primary factor before the development of any application. And, to get an idea about how much does it cost to craft an application is important for any entrepreneur.

You can go through the above article to understand the costing of an application and other factors that are important for the development of an app.

11. HTTPS over HTTP

HTTP vs. HTTPS

The full form of HTTPS is Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure that is preferable over HTTP because of its secure version and safety over the threat of vulnerable cyber attacks. HTTPS protects communication over the internet.

The benefit of HTTPS is are as follows:

  • Communication is encrypted
  • Data security and privacy

On the other hand, HTTP is not a verifiable version. Hacker has open access to your information and can easily modify it if you are using HTTP.

Also, there are  other benefits such as:

  • Encrypt the communication content
  • Make sure the attacker has not altered the messages.
  • Integrity of communication
  • Authenticity of Communication

12. Cache is Unsafe

The cache is a storing of information of the same type in a secure place which is also inaccessible to anyone. Recovery of data stored in the cache is faster as it is saved on the device.

It has the cache that stores the elements of searches. The advantage of storing elements of apps is that it quickly loads the pages whenever requested again. So, it sums-up that application has two types of data; Cache data and app data.

Cache becomes vulnerable as it contains the data. It is advisable to clear the cache once in a week or month. Android is the operating system that is highly advanced which clears the cache automatically. And, the user does not need to clear it now and then.

Conclusion

As the number of applications increases, it becomes a center of attraction for hackers. Modern users are aware of cyber attacks and data theft. App owners, therefore, must ensure the safety of credentials and information.

The software, for instance, Java, Android, .NET, and iOS are few which are out of control need reliable source code. The development of applications should be in such a way that it becomes difficult for cyber attackers to decode the system.

Hire our dedicated developers and reap the benefits of excellence as well as years of experience. Also, you can get in touch with us for more information. We would be glad to connect with you and contribute in providing the best service.

Disclaimer: We at eSparkBiz Technologies have created this blog with all the consideration and utmost care. We always strive for excellence in each of our blog posts and for that purpose, we ensure that all the information written in the blog is complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date. However, we can’t always guarantee that the information written in the blog correct, accurate or up-to-date. Therefore, we always advise our valuable readers not to take any kind of decisions based on the information as well as the views shared by our authors. The readers should always conduct an in-depth research before making the final decision. In addition to these, all the logos, 3rd part trademarks and screenshots of websites & mobile apps are the property of the individual owners. We’re not associated with any of them.

Harikrishna Kundariya

Harikrishna Kundariya

Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, app lover, technology savvy, designer, co-founder, Director of eSparkBiz @Mobile App Development Company where you can Hire Mobile App Developer. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on app development.

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