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10 Tips for Mobile App Security - Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe

The usage of mobile apps has been exponentially increasing year after year. Today there are more internet-connected mobile devices in the world than there are humans – scary, right? Mobile Apps have been the dominant form of delivering content to mobile phone users; that’s why more companies are embracing and integrating this technology into their businesses. 

Developing mobile apps is quite different from the standard software development cycle. Therefore, maintaining its security involves a different process as well. Here we have listed down ten tips so you can keep your mobile app secure and safe.

1. Make provisions for data security.

Unstructured information will generally be stored within device storage when your mobile application accesses confidential data. You can use mobile data encryption to secure the data in a sandbox effectively. You can do this by offering file-level encryption across different operating systems.

2. Use MAM/MDM to support integration.

You will be facing several threats if you do not secure your mobile application properly. MAM (Mobile App Management) and MDM (Mobile Device Management) solutions are used by businesses to alleviate threats to apps and devices. With MDM and MAM, you can build enterprise app stores for regulated distribution. Your apps will also be created within multiple security layers, maintaining safety of the highest order.

3. You should minimise the storage of your sensitive data.

As much as possible, make sure that confidential user will never get stored within the device or in your servers. When user data are unnecessarily stored, it adds to your risk levels. However, if it’s vital to store data, make sure you use encrypted data containers while using cookies for stored passwords. Furthermore, you should not rely on logs, and you have to make sure that data is automatically deleted after a specific period.

4. Always secure your backend.

A massive percentage of backend APIs assume that only applications which have been written to access it can interact with it – this is a misunderstanding. The truth is that apps can be accessed through malicious attacks that will put your mobile applications at risk. You have to place security measures in your backend servers to guard your app against these malicious attacks. To do this, you have to ensure that all APIs are verified depending on the mobile platform you want to code for because API authentication and transport mechanisms are different for every platform.

5. Always encrypt your source code. 

Reports have shown that malicious code infects over 12 million mobile devices at any given time. It is often done by repackaging popular apps into “rogue apps”. When these are published, users get infected. Mobile malware often looks into the bugs and vulnerabilities of a mobile app’s design and source code. This is why encrypting your source code is a must. By doing this, your source code cannot be accessed by anyone else.

6. Make use of the latest cryptography techniques

MD5 and SHA1 have been tow of the most popular cryptography algorithms, but for modern-day security requirements, they have proven to be insufficient. Therefore, it is best for your company to stay updated on the latest in security algorithm technology.  As much as possible, you have to use modern encryption methods such as AES with 256-bit encryption and SHA which has 256 for hashing. To further secure your app before it goes live, you should perform manual penetration testing and threat modelling on your app to make sure you have fool-proof security. 

7. Your data-in-transit should be secure, as well.

When you have a mobile application, you will always have sensitive information sent from the client to backend servers. These data should be protected to ensure that there will be no privacy leaks and data theft. Developers can ensure that the user data stays within strict security measures by employing support for VPN or SSL tunnels. When this is done, your data will be protected from any attack.

8. You should prevent unintended data leakage.

As your end users interact with your mobile app, they will have to agree to certain permissions that will allow your brand and your company to look into sensitive personal customer information. When you implement ethical advertising and use secure analytics providers, your end users are assured that their personal data will never be leaked unintentionally by hackers or other malicious business vendors. 

9. Have thorough understanding of platform-specific limitations.

Especially when you are developing for multiple mobile operating systems, you should always take time to understand the security features and limitations of the different platforms. When you’ve already done this, you should then code accordingly. There will also be various user case scenarios, password support, encryption support, and geo-location data support for different OS, and you should take them into account, as well. When you do this, you will be able to control and distribute the app on your chosen platforms.

10. Perform a thorough QA and security check.

The best thing to do for a secure and safe mobile application is to test your application against randomly generated security scenarios before your final deployment. If your budget allows it, you can even hire a hacker to help you identify security backdoors in your application to check if it’s secure enough. Even Google and Microsoft hold Hackathons where hundreds of hackers find security issues within their apps, and they also give them prize money. Finding the weak spots of your app before deployment will make sure your data will be safe and secure. 

April9 delivers innovative and secure mobile applications into the palm of your hand. With a decade of experience in servicing Australian businesses, our developers have an exemplary track record that makes us a preferred developer even among government bodies. Our processes will maximise your investment, and your data will always be secure. Schedule your free appointment today.