IDAP BLOG Mobile Application Development

How to Build a Secure Mobile App. Top Things to Consider

Mobile app development is on its rise now. The good thing that mobile apps have filled many facets of our lives with ease and convenience. And the bad thing is that the more mobile apps become popular, the more they are vulnerable to hacks.

Apps are getting more ingrained in our daily and professional lives. Nowadays apps can do plenty of things from executing financial transactions to uploading sensitive health data. Thus, personal data is more and more at risks of being misused and stolen.

Hackers with malicious intent can:

  • Insert malware into apps and handheld devices to access data and steal sensitive data such as lock passcodes, bank accounts, etc.
  • Copy your source code and develop a spoof malicious app
  • Cut in any sensitive data over the airwaves
  • Steal user datat for theft or fraud purposes
  • Seize private business assets or intellectual property
  • Access your IP

Four Things to Make Your Mobile App Secure

App entrepreneurs, as well as app developers, are in charge of mobile app security. They have to ensure that customer data is secure and safe from hacking attacks. There is only one way to keep private data safe – adopt particular security measure across every touch point of a mobile app. And we’ve covered some of the most important things to pay your attention while developing a secure mobile app.

Two-Factor Authentication to Keep Users’ Data Safe and Sound

Two-Factor Authentication to Keep Users’ Data Safe and Sound

Passwords are the most common security measure but users tend to forget them as soon as they’re created. Moreover, passwords can be easily hacked. And sometimes, they are so simple that anyone could guess them with a few tries. When it comes to apps that access or store confidential data, losing passwords to hackers mean a tremendous loss. It doesn’t lend credence to passwords, does it?

Luckily, there is a two-factor authentication that helps solve this problem. Its most common implementation is when a user logs into an app and gets a randomly generated code via SMS or email. Only when the user enters the code together with the password, he will enter the app.

Two-factor authentication is a must for the apps that store or access sensitive data. Such apps should also log users out and require to get through the process of two-factor authentication each time they log in.

OAuth2 to Secure Sensitive Data

OAuth2 to Secure Sensitive Data

You’ve probably heard of OAuth before, haven’t you? It’s a security protocol for protecting API from untrusted devices. OAuth is an excellent way to identify mobile users via token authentication.

OAuth2 creates an access token that expires after a certain amount of time. The token is created and stored on the mobile devices when the users log in. Once the access token expires, the app aks the users to enter their login information.

With OAuth2, there is no need for storing API keys in an unsafe environment. Instead, access tokens are temporary and can be stored in an untrusted environment. Even if a hacker gets a temporary access token, it will expire and the hacker will be unable to store any sensitive data.

SSL to Create a Secure Channel Between User and Server

SSL to Create a Secure Channel Between User and Server

The recent research on mobile app security has revealed shocking information – 40% of mobile banking apps audited did not validate the authenticity of SSL certificates. The absence of SSL certificates makes apps vulnerable to hacking attacks. This scenario lets hackers intercept the traffic and carry out a similar scam or create a fake log-in with the help of arbitrary HTML/ Javascript code.

Most mobile apps don’t implement SSL validation correctly. Hence, they cannot be protected from man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. In case, your app needs to connect a remote server, consider implementing SSL certificates to ensure a secure channel between a user and a server.

Encryption

Encryption

The Advanced Encryption Standard is currently one of the most popular security algorithms in symmetric key cryptography. It’s also called “gold standard” of the encryption techniques. Most companies use AES-256 for all communications.

Read Also: How to build your first mobile app

How Can Developers Secure Mobile Apps?

A mobile app has a good of things to secure and protect from hacking attacks: there is the software code, the business logic, databases, servers, APIs, the device and its operating system, and the user.

Each of the above-mentioned elements plays an important role in the app’s security. Here’s a small overview of how to make your app protected from hackers and malicious software.

Protect the Source Code

Mobile software security has to be a priority from day one. However, native apps tend to be more vulnerable to hacking attacks than web apps where data and software are stored on a server and a browser is just an interface. With native apps, however, the code is stored on the device once the app is installed making it more accessible for hackers.

There could be lots of vulnerabilities in the app’s source code. Thus, network and data security components are important parts of the mobile app security.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Protect app code with encryption. Encryption helps to keep the code secret and hard to read or copy.
  • Test code for vulnerabilities or carry out source code scanning to secure your phone app

Secure Network Connections

If the app access any servers or cloud servers, make sure that they have security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access and protect data. APIs and the servers accessing them should be verified and checked for any security risks.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Take advantage of containerization to create encrypted containers for storing data and documents
  • SSL, VPN, TLS, or HTTPS to protect the channel between a server and a user.

Put Authentication, Authorization, and Identification In Place

Authentication and authorization technologies help identify the users and adds one more layer of security to the login process. There is a wide range of technologies to implement authentication and authorization.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Use caution if your app uses any third-party APIs.
  • Take advantage of OAuth2 to manage secure connections via temporary tokens.
  • Two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security and requires to enter randomly generated codes sent via SMS or email.

Read Also: Offshore Software Development: Everything You Need To Know

Summary

Ensuring the security of your users’ sensitive data makes your app win over new users and helps you build the trust factor. It’s needless to say, a trust and security factor also increases your chances to get and retain more customers.

At IDAP, we know how to build secure mobile apps. Contact us to get a free estimate of your development project.

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