The growing use of mobile apps is witnessed at an exponential rate with each passing year. There are now more internet-connected mobile devices on the planet than there are humans, and mobile applications account for 86 percent of internet users in the United States alone!
Mobile apps are the most common way of providing content and value to mobile phone users worldwide and are typically accessible via online app distributors such as Google Play Store, Apple App Store, Windows Store, and others. Organizations and multinational corporations have also adopted mobile applications to boost employee engagement while aligning with a younger, more connected workforce.
The Importance of Mobile Application Security
To put it as plainly as possible, most people don't consider mobile app protection while paying for a coffee at Starbucks, playing the new game when commuting, or even conducting online transactions on their mobile banking app.
Here are some figures:
Every single one of the top 100 paying applications in the Google Play Store has been hacked to date.
In the Apple App Store, 56 percent of the top 100 paying applications have been hacked.
Year after year, the number of malicious mobile malware infections rises by 163 percent.
These figures are even more disturbing when you realize that most businesses already have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy that allows workers to combine work and personal interests on a single mobile device. In the United States, 84 percent of customers use the same computer for work and personal use, decreasing the capacity of the company's IT department to secure access to sensitive enterprise data confidently.
Mobile applications that have been hacked or cracked have the ability to -
Significant sales loss
Unauthorized access to sensitive company and user information
Cases of intellectual property theft and fraud
Damage to the brand
As a result, the most important question you can ask yourself as an app developer before deciding to publish your app is: "How do I protect my app against any malicious intent?"
Start by reading our carefully curated mobile app security tips, which will give you a structure for dealing with the security issues that arise during the development and deployment of a mobile app.
10 Security Tips for Mobile Apps
The process of creating and delivering mobile apps differs significantly from that of traditional software creation. Our mobile app protection tips were collected by experienced mobile app developers, testers, and hackers to assist you in securing your applications for a better end-user experience.
Source Code Encryption
Mobile malware often exploits flaws and vulnerabilities in the mobile application's architecture and source code. According to recent studies, malicious code infects over 12 million mobile devices at any given time, and the most common method used by attackers is to repackage popular apps into "rogue apps" and distribute them.
Understand Platform-specific Limitations
When coding for several mobile operating systems, it's best to first learn about the platform's security features and limitations and then code accordingly. In order to properly monitor and distribute the software on your preferred platforms, you should also consider various user case scenarios, encryption support, password support, and geo-location data support for the OS.
Make Data Security Provisions
Unstructured data is typically stored in computer storage when a mobile application accesses business or other sensitive data. Mobile data encryption, such as SQLite Database Encryption Modules or file-level encryption through different operating systems, can be used to protect data in a sandbox.
Support Integration with MAM/MDM
Various companies are now supporting MDM (mobile device management) and MAM (mobile app management) solutions to mitigate app and device-related risks. Organizations can use MDM and MAM to build corporate app stores for controlled delivery, wrap employee applications in multiple security layers, wipe app and computer data remotely, and more.
You can ensure that your app protection is always of the highest order by providing specific inbuilt support for various MDM/MAM vendors such as Good Technologies, AirWatch, Apperian, and others.
Secure the Data-in-transit
To ensure zero privacy leakage and data theft, sensitive information sent from the client to backend servers must be secured. Developers can easily ensure that user data is protected from eavesdropping and hacking, including support for VPN or SSL tunnels.
A significant number of backend APIs presume that they can only be used by apps that have been written to use them. Reality, on the other hand, is very different. To protect against malicious attacks, backend servers should have security measures in place. As a result, make sure all APIs are tested for the mobile platform you're planning to code for, as transport mechanisms and API authentication will vary.
Prevent Unintentional Data Breach
When a user works or interacts with your app, they consent to certain permissions that enable brands, companies, and even you, to gather vital personal information about your customers. You will ensure that the user data is never accidentally exposed to hackers or malicious business vendors by ethically enforcing ads and using stable analytics providers.
Make Use of the Most Up-to-Date Cryptography Techniques
The most widely used cryptography algorithms, such as MD5 and SHA1, have proved inadequate for today's security needs. As a result, it's important that you stay up to date on the latest security algorithm technologies and that you use modern encryption methods like AES with 256-bit encryption and SHA-256 for hashing wherever possible. You should also conduct manual penetration testing and threat modeling on your app before it goes live for foolproof protection.
Minimize Storage of Sensitive Data
If at all possible, make sure that sensitive user data is never stored on the computer or on your servers. This is because keeping user data unnecessarily raises the risk levels. If you must store data because there is no other option, use encrypted data containers or key chains, with cookies for password storage. Finally, the dependency on logs ensures that they are automatically removed after a predetermined period of time.
Perform a thorough QA and Security Check
As a final piece of mobile app security advice, always test the app against randomly created security scenarios before releasing it. If your budget allows, you can even employ a hacker to assist you in locating security backdoors in an application that you thought was safe. Many firms, such as Google and Microsoft, host Hackathons in which hundreds of hackers compete for prize money to find security flaws in their software.
If you're a self-employed developer, make sure you read the documentation and get support from others to find secret backdoors in your software. Always keep in mind that a robust, safe app will result in high levels of end-user satisfaction, resulting in increased business opportunities for you.