Secure apps aren’t features or benefits, they’re a bare necessity. Having your company’s trust tarnished by one breach could mean millions of dollars for your company. You should place data protection at the top of your priority list when you begin writing code.
The cyber world was rocked by security breaches that stole millions of dollars while you were busy developing the most intuitive, innovative and exciting applications. In light of today’s relationships with our smartphones and mobile apps, it becomes clear that a great deal of our life-critical information is floating around out there, available for cybercriminals to access.
Criminals could gain crucial information about us from one break-in, such as our names, ages, home addresses, account numbers, and exact location. A great deal of sensitive information is exchanged between enterprise applications, making them extremely appealing to attackers.
This kind of information puts the developers’ users and clients at risk, so they must safeguard it as much as possible.
The following are 10 best practices that can ensure mobile apps are secure:
1. Write a Secure Code
Code bugs and vulnerabilities are usually the first place attackers look for ways to break into a system. If they have a public copy of your app they can reverse engineer your code and tamper with it. Over 11.6 million mobile devices are currently infected with malicious code, according to research.
You should think about security from the beginning and harden your code to prevent it from being broken. Ensure that your code can’t be reverse engineered by obfuscating and minifying it. Repetition is the key to finding and fixing bugs. Code should be easily updateable and patchable. If there is a breach, it should be possible for the code to be updated at the user end. Harden and sign your code.
2. Encrypt All Data
Your app must encrypt every piece of data it exchanges. Plain text is encrypted when it is turned into a random alphabet soup that has no meaning outside of the person holding the key. Even if stolen data is leaked, criminals will not be able to read it.
NSA and FBI have asked for permission to decode WhatsApp and access iPhones, so it’s easy to understand the power of encryption. Cybercriminals will not be able to break through wilfully if they can’t break through wittingly.
3. Be Extra Cautious With Libraries
Be sure to test your code thoroughly before integrating third-party libraries into your app. Even though some libraries are useful, they may make your app very insecure. One of the GNU C Library’s vulnerabilities allowed it to be remotely executed by an attacker, causing a system crash. It took over seven years for this vulnerability to be discovered. The developers of apps need to protect themselves from libraries that contain vulnerabilities by using controlled internal repositories and policy controls during acquisition.
4. Use Authorized APIs Only
In unauthorized APIs, a hacker may unintentionally gain access to sensitive information that can be misused gravely. Programmers can reuse authorization information by caching it locally for API calls, for example. The APIs can then be used more easily by coders. At the same time, it creates an opportunity for attackers to take over privileges. For maximum security, APIs should be centrally authorized.
5. Use High-Level Authentication
It is becoming increasingly crucial that we employ stronger authentication methods because the number of security breaches is rising methods authentication. A password or other personal identifier serves as an authentication barrier. However, as a developer, you can affect the behaviour of your users in a positive way by encouraging them to be more critical of authentication.
If you design your apps correctly, you can require users to change their passwords every three or six months. In the current era of multifactor authentication, dynamic passwords are being used in conjunction with static passwords. Apps that require a high level of security might also require biometric authentication, such as a retina scan or fingerprint.
6. Deploy Tamper-Detection Technologies
If someone tampers with your code or injects malicious code, there are techniques to set off alerts. Modification of the code will prevent it from working, as active tamper-detection can be employed.
7. Use the Principle of Least Privilege
It should be allowed only the permissions it desperately needs. That is known as the principle of least privilege. The privileges your app needs should not exceed what is absolutely necessary for it to function. Ask for contact information only if you need it. Keep your network connections to a minimum. It goes on and on, and depends largely on the specifics of your application, so continuously model your threats as you update it.
8. Deploy Proper Session Handling
Mobile sessions are significantly longer than desktop sessions. A server has to work harder to handle sessions in this case. In the future, identifiers for devices will be replaced by tokens. Revoked tokens provide increased security in the event of a stolen or lost device. This feature allows you to remotely wipe data from stolen/lost devices and also enable remote log-off.
9. Use the Best Cryptography Tools and Techniques
Your encryption efforts must pay off if you manage your keys correctly. Your keys should not be hard coded, as attackers can steal them easily. Do not store keys locally on the device and instead store them in secure containers. Modern security standards have proven insufficient for some widely accepted cryptography protocols, such as MD5 and SHA1. Consider using the most up-to-date, most trusted APIs, encrypting data with AES encryption and hashing it with SHA-256.
10. Test Repeatedly
The process of securing your application never ends. We need new solutions as new threats emerge. Test your apps continuously for vulnerabilities with penetration testing, model threat, and emulators. Every update must be accompanied by a patch that fixes the problem.
With data breaches such as WannaCry and NotPetya in 2017, everyone is beginning to take cyber security more seriously in 2017 than they ever have, and the coming years will witness consumers and organizations alike taking it more seriously than ever before. More than usability or aesthetic appeal, security will be a major factor in the success of apps.
As you follow the guidelines above, you will ensure your app security is smooth as an oyster and your clients and users will be satisfied.