12 Security Tips To Keep In Mind When Developing Mobile Apps

For an app to become popular, it needs to be useful, easy to use, and attractive. However, even if you create an app that ticks all these boxes, it can still go downhill if you compromise on an important aspect – security. An app whose security has been compromised will lose customers faster than the blink of an eye. This is why app developers often spend a lot of time in securing their app in every way possible. And if you are creating a mobile app, you should definitely keep the following 12 security tips in mind.

  1. Consider The Devices

You must have a comprehensive understanding of the various devices on which the app will be installed. Smartphones will differ in terms of the operating system used in them, the peculiar security vulnerabilities, and so on. Learning about such aspects will provide you with more information on how to code the app in a way that it remains secure on all devices. Ensure that the app can optimize the inherent security features of the device to the max while also making sure that it has special inbuilt functions that can protect it from being exploited from the device-specific vulnerabilities.

  1. Storage Considerations

Data storage is also something that you should definitely pay attention to when securing the app. When the app stores personal data on the device, make sure that it is stored in a very secure location and not at some place where anyone can access it. You should also be very careful when deciding what data to transmit to the servers. Any leakage of customer data from your servers can result in court cases and fines. As such, it is recommended that you only transmit data that is really required for the operation of the app and nothing else. And once the purpose of the data is completed, you should permanently delete it from the servers rather than storing it.

  1. Encrypt Data

All data must be encrypted, whether it is data stored in the device or data that is transmitted to your servers. This is the only way to ensure that the customer’s data gets protected from being stolen by a third party. High-level encryption is often extremely difficult to crack. In fact, expert coders and cryptologists can write encryption codes that are impossible to crack no matter how long a hacker tries. So, you should definitely have a very good encryption team with you who can make all data that goes through the app completely secure.

  1. Secure API

When using APIs, make sure that you only use the secured ones. APIs which are unauthorized are often shabbily coded. As a result, any hacker with good enough experience will be able to use the API to gain access to your app. In contrast, an authorized API is a tough nut to crack and will do a far better job at protecting the app from being compromised. So, before you use APIs, check them to make sure that they are verified.

  1. Third Party Libraries

You must be very careful when using third party libraries in your app. Always test the code thoroughly before using them. Such libraries can contain serious security vulnerabilities. If you don’t test them before using them in your app, these security vulnerabilities can eventually be exploited by the hackers to attack your app.

  1. Zero Trust Security

This is one of the hottest security methods being implemented on networks. The method only grants the most minimal of permissions to users when they access a machine. The idea behind the method is that nothing can ever be fully trusted, which makes it imperative to provide only the necessary permissions when required. When designing mobile apps, the zero trust security method should ideally be followed.  By strictly regulating all permissions and granting them to the user only in necessary situations, you can avoid the app being hacked by a third party to a good extent.

  1. Balance UX And Security

When trying to enhance the security of the app, you should be very careful that it does not come at the cost of user experience. That can work against you. For example, if you use an extremely complex authentication process, then users are likely to avoid using your app. You need to find the right balance between UX and security, the sweet spot where the app is both secure and easy to use for any person. If you have serious concerns on this, then you should consult a service like Praxent, a UI/UX design agency that can help you develop user experience strategies for your mobile app without compromising on its security.

  1. Use Tokens

Always remember to use tokens in the app for dealing with logins. After all, this is the current global standard. And you will do well to implement token based login to secure the entire process and manage user sessions. While on the one hand, tokens are very user-friendly, they can also be revoked whenever required in order to ensure the security of user data.

  1. Caching App Data

When people use mobile apps, some of the data that is used in the app may be stored locally through HTTP caching. For example, if the app requires users to register their email, then the email id can be stored in a folder. This is also a risky proposition since the data can end up at a location that is not properly secured. As such, if the hackers were to know that HTTP caching was enabled in an application, they can exploit it to their advantage. To prevent such things from happening, you should avoid any HTTP caching in your mobile app.

  1. Code Tampering

Hackers might even try to tamper the code of your app and modify it in certain ways. Some will focus on injecting their code into the app so as to gain access to user’s data. Other hackers might look at cracking your app and selling it on other websites by publishing it as their own application. Such developments are obviously undesirable. So, ensure that your code is tamper-proof when you develop the app. You can also design the app in a way that it will alert you in case anyone tries to tamper with it.

  1. Authentication

One of the biggest reasons for security breaches in mobile phones is poor authentication. Now, the difficulty with this is that authentication is completely dependent on the user of the app. A careless user can cause the authentication being compromised no matter how well it has been structured by the programmers. Having said that, it is important that you foresee all possible ways the user might be careless with regard to the authentication. You can then code in commands that can prevent the user from carelessly compromising the authentication. At present, most developers use two-step authentication as a means to protect the app from intrusion by third parties.

  1. Test 

Finally, be sure to thoroughly test the app before launching it. Never be in a hurry to publish the app that you end up without doing a full security check of it. If any hackers find out your app’s vulnerabilities, then all the effort you put into developing it will go to waste since users will ditch it in an instant. Make sure all kinds of security tests are done, whether it is regression testing, penetration testing, exploratory testing or any others.  Only when you have used all the latest testing tools to check the security of the app should you publish it in the marketplace.

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