Mobile devices have become quite a popular means to access the internet than desktops and laptops. So, mobile app security has become a compelling necessity for both brands and their users.
Modern-day users engage in various activities like checking emails, doing bank transfers, purchasing items online, watching the news, etc. A single breach will cost the company to lose millions of dollars and break the users’ trust for a lifetime.
What is mobile application security?
Mobile application security is a measure to secure the applications and prevent external threats such as malware practices and other digital frauds from hackers. A security breach will expose the hackers to vital data like personal information, current address, bank details, and much more.
According to Clever Tap, in 2018, 71% of fraud transactions came through the mobile app and mobile browser in the second quarter. Today application security is not just a benefit or feature; rather it has become a necessity to operate the virtual world safely. The app developers of mobile companies should implement strict measures that provide a better user and client experience.
Steps to secure the company’s mobile applications
Secure source code: The mobile application’s design and source code having bugs and vulnerabilities are the easy access point for attackers to break into the application. A research report posted on tripwire states that malicious code is affecting around 12 million mobile devices in a given time.
This is why the source code should be minified and obfuscated to become hard to read and interpret. The code needs to be agile to be updated easily on the user’s end post any breach.
Encryption of data: Whenever any data is shared over an app, it requires an end to end encryption. Encryption is a process that scrambles the data, and this vague alphabet algorithm holds no meaning to anyone except the one who possesses the authority.
This implies that even if the data is stolen, miscreants will not get to read or misuse it.
Platform-specific limitations: If a code is developed for multiple mobile operating systems, it is good to have insight regarding the platform’s security features and limitations.
Various user case scenarios have to be taken into account like password support, encryption support, and geo-location data support. This is mainly for the OS to properly control and distribute the app in the preferred platform.
Be cautious with the libraries: The third libraries tend to reduce the developer’s coding and enhance the application development process. While some libraries are useful, others are very risky for the app.
For instance, the GNU C library has a security flaw that enables the attackers to remotely execute a malicious code and crash the system. This vulnerability was undiscovered for 7-8 and got fixed later in 2016. The developers can regulate using several libraries and create a policy to manage the libraries to prevent any possible threats.
Go for the authorized APIs: The unauthorized APIs are coded loosely and unintentionally grant the hackers the privilege of misusing the data. When making API calls, the programmers can easily reuse the information by caching authorization information.
But this provides the attackers with loopholes to hijack the data. This is why experts suggest that APIs should be authorized centrally for utmost security.
Secure the data-in-transit: To ensure zero data theft and privacy leaks, the sensitive information which is transferred from the client to backend servers needs to be safeguarded.
App developers can take security measures to protect user data by implementing aids for SSL or VPN channels. This prevents theft and eavesdropping of the data.
Use the principle of least privilege: According to the principle of least privilege, a code needs to run with the required permissions and nothing more. The app should function on the minimum requirement, and it shouldn’t request more privileges.
Based on the specifics of the application, the list can go on and perform continuous threat modelling as the code is updated.
Prevent unwanted data leakage: When a user is associated with an app, they agree to grant certain permissions that allow businesses, brands and even the app developers to peek into the client’s valuable information.
Practices like using secure analytics providers and ethically implementing advertisements, developers can safeguard against unwanted hackers and business vendors.
Use the Latest Cryptography Techniques: The most popular cryptography protocols like the MD5 and SHA1 have been inadequate for current day security needs. It is good to stick to the latest APIs that uses modern encryption systems such as SHA-256 for hashing and AES with 256-bit encryption.
Simultaneously, to have solid security, developers should also perform threat modelling and manual penetration testing before going live.
Use High-Level Authentication: Authentication is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to the security breach. A weaker authentication increases the risk, so a stronger authentication is necessary. Authentication is typically carried with passwords and other personal identifiers that create a barrier to free entry.
A developer can encourage users to be more sensitive towards authentication by designing app passwords with strong alphanumeric combinations that should be reviewed every three to six months. There is also multi-factor authentication that gains prominence like biometric, fingerprints, retina scan, OTP, etc.
Perform a Thorough Security Check: Before deployment of the app, it examines the application against general security measures. Some brands employ hackers to identify the hidden security backdoors to the app.
This gives an idea of the prevailing loopholes within the app. Developing a secure app will lead to end-user satisfaction, ensuring bright business prospects for the future.
Users and clients are mainly dependent and trust organizations for the application security measures of their mobile. However, the reports are shocking as 50% of the brands have zero budget dedicated to mobile application security.
Security is a vital concern, and it needs a proper inspection to safeguard the users against fraud or loss. Go through the mobile application security checklists before practically going to implement them on the mobiles. To build a secure career, you can also enrol for the Stanford Advanced Computer Security Program and upskill.0