Mobile usages have been increasing rapidly. Statista projects the number of mobile users to grow to 7 billion by 2025. As the number of mobile phones (smartphones in particular) continues to increase, so does the number of mobile applications. Mobile applications are what make smartphones useful. Without them, users will have so little to do with smartphones.
Top 10 Mobile App Security Best Practices
In 2020 alone, there were 218 billion mobile app downloads. Moreover, this number is expected to increase even more. This is because our daily lives are entirely dependent upon mobile applications for our daily activities. Therefore, to give users a smooth and convenient experience, developers usually do their best to develop attractive user designs and graphics.
Developers sometimes ignore mobile app security elements that put users and owners right at the jaws of hackers. Some of the most prominent app security threats include data leakages, Wi-Fi threats, spoofing attacks, spyware, improper session handling, and broken cryptography. In this article, you will learn how to secure mobile apps.
· Source Code Encryption
Attackers usually use mobile malware to track bugs and vulnerable source codes. They can then use reverse-engineering techniques to repackage your application to a rogue mobile application whose functionality is out of order. Attackers can then use the repackaged application for their malicious purposes.
App re-engineering by hackers can damage your reputation as a developer. The remedy is to use tools capable of detecting and addressing such security vulnerabilities. For instance, developers should ensure that their source codes are encrypted to give robust defence against reverse engineering and other code tampering threats.
· Regular Penetration Tests
As a best practice, you must regularly test your application to see if it can withstand the randomly generated security scenarios. Through penetration testing, you will be able to detect security loopholes that could be a big threat to your app’s well-being.
Once you discover the security vulnerabilities, it will be wise to patch them as soon as possible. Usually, these loopholes could grow to become even more significant security threats.
· Security to In-transit Data
Attackers usually target data in transit. For example, they will want to intercept sensitive data as it travels between applications and users. Once they get to hold on to the data, they might use it for malicious purposes. The best remedy here is to ensure that all in-transit data is protected.
The best in-transit data protection strategy is using an SSL certificate or a Virtual Private Network. SSL certificates will convert the app data into a format that the intended recipients can only read and understand. A virtual private network also creates a safe tunnel within which data passes. The two are, therefore, essential security tools that should never miss in your app security strategy.
· Use a Code Signing Certificate
One of the most lethal threats that affect mobile applications is malware proliferation. Unfortunately, open-source software has already proved to be a deadly weapon from an attacker’s perspective. It is easy to infuse malware into such software.
To avoid such issues, it is highly recommended that you invest in a code signing certificate. When you sign your code using a trusted code signing certificate, your customers know that the code comes from a reliable publisher and has not been tampered with since inception.
You must avoid using software that comes from unknown publishers. This will help you stay away from danger.
· Develop Apps that Only Accept High-Level Authentication
One of the most crucial mobile app security tools to protect your mobile application from data breaches is high-level authentication. As a developer, it is advised that you only develop applications that accept strong and unique passwords.
In addition, you must set a password threshold that should be met by all those who will use the application. For instance, users should not be allowed to create short passwords. They should also be made to combine multiple characters when creating the passwords.
It would also help strengthen your authentication process by using a two-factor authentication such as one-time passwords and biometric authentication features.
· Backend Security
Most apps usually come with a client-server mechanism. Therefore, it is recommended that you have a robust security strategy that will help protect your mobile application against security threats at the backend servers.
One of the excellent tips you can apply to secure your backend servers is using the SecurityTrails™ ASRv2 tool. The tools will give you visibility over all backend risks. In addition, it will scan through your entire application to identify any threats that could expose your application to hackers.
· Be Cautious with The Libraries
Sometimes you might see the need to use third-party libraries. However, although third-party libraries might prove to be helpful, they also carry security risks. The GNU C Library is one perfect example of how insecure your libraries could be.
Therefore, you will need to be extra-cautious. As a best practice, you must double-check the code before deploying it on your mobile application. You can also use a controlled internal repository to safeguard your application from unsafe libraries.
· Use Authorized Application Programming Interfaces
An Application Programming Interfaces that are not authorized or ones that are slackly coded could give attackers freedom which they would use to hijack privileges. Therefore, for the utmost security of your mobile application, it will be wise to authorize all the APIs centrally.
· Apply The Least Privileges Principle
The principle of the least principle requires a code to be run only with the permissions it needs and no more. It means that your mobile application should not be allowed to request more privileges than it requires to fulfil its chores. For instance, let’s say you do not need access to users’ email addresses. In such a case, you should not ask for them.
· Deploy Tamper Detection Technologies
You can set up your mobile application in such a way that it will alert you when an attacker tries to inject malicious code. The alert should be crafted to prevent the code from functioning unless it is modified.
Mobile app security issues are gaining momentum to alarming heights. Every developer now needs to have security in mind when designing a mobile application. I hope that the above tips will give a satisfactory answer on how to secure a mobile app.