Mobile app developers are releasing apps faster than they can fix them. As a result, the security of mobile apps is continuously declining. High-risk vulnerabilities were found in 38% of iOS and 43% Android mobile applications.
Most vulnerabilities are created during the app design stage, and fixing them requires significant changes to code. The tips in this article can help developers find a balance between app usability and security.
Mobile Development Security Issues
Most organizations know that their applications include a significant amount of security vulnerabilities. However, they cannot scale their security program to address these threats adequately. Also, the competing demands to produce fast and secure applications during the application development lifecycle lead many organizations to cut corners. As a result, many open-source or mobile applications are exposed during development.
Poor Server-Side Security
Leaving the server-side unprotected exposes sensitive user data by giving easy access to hackers. Therefore, verifying and securing the back-end should be the main priority. Developers must ensure that only authorized users can access the data stored on the server.
SQL Injection is an example of a server-side attack since the malicious code is injected on the SQL server. Other examples include broken authentication, sensitive data exposure, and more.
Using Third-Party App Frameworks
Third-party frameworks can help save time and reduce costs. However, using ready-made external frameworks is risky because hackers also release such frameworks to target developers. These malicious frameworks come with hidden vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to steal data. Proper verification is necessary to avoid malicious code publishers.
Poor App Security Testing
The application testing phase should cover usability, compatibility, and security validation of the app. Hackers can quickly discover and exploit vulnerabilities in apps that weren't adequately tested. Therefore, you have to check the app before the release. The testing should cover all aspects of the app, including the interaction with phone features like cameras, GPS, and body sensors.
Governmental and non-governmental agencies are always looking to profit from user data. Apps that collect large amounts of user data are easy targets for these agencies. The problem isn't limited to consumer apps. Apps that collect sensitive information like healthcare or banking records are at more risk, especially if they use low-quality APIs in their analytics and advertising.
6 Ways to Build a Completely Secure Mobile App
Mobile app developers need to do everything they can to protect their users and clients. Here are some tips you can use to secure mobile apps.
1. Be aware of what you store on a device
Data breaches are inevitable if your app uses sensitive data. The app should enable users to get rid of or move their personal data to a secure location. The breach is most likely to occur on the device or your servers. When developing your app, take time to determine the best place to store user data, and make sure to enable encryption.
2. Secure data transmission
Cybercriminals can intercept network traffic between two parties, and change the communication for their benefit. For example, hackers can create a fraudulent Wi-Fi network in a local coffee shop to execute Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. MitM attacks are used to reroute funds or solicit sensitive personal information like credit card numbers.
Find a way to ensure your app is receiving and transmitting data securely. You can use Virtual Private Networks (VPN), Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and Transport Layer Security (TLS). These protocols can help secure data in transit by encrypting it between the sender and receiver.
3. Ensure everyone is on the same page
All team members need to understand what they need to do, the processes they have to follow, and the tools to use. A clear definition of the team goals can speed up development and decrease issues at every stage, thus increasing security.
4. Force users to end sessions
Sessions are user interactions with your website within a given time frame. For instance, a single session can contain multiple social interactions, page views, or eCommerce transactions. Prevent users from leaving active sessions after logging out or closing your app. Require users to close the session on every log out and require them to log back in to regain access. Also, log out the user for extra safety after a predetermined inactivity period.
5. Use authorized API
An API is a set of tools and protocols that help apps to communicate with other apps. APIs can also significantly reduce the complexity of app development. On the other hand, APIs can be a source of security vulnerabilities.
Keep in mind the potential attacks that can come from API breaches when developing your app and using APIs. One possible breach is giving too many permissions to specific tools. You need to grant permissions securely or find your own solution.
6. Use strong authentication
Passwords are one of the most common modes of authentication. Therefore, you have to establish a strong password policy to prevent unauthorized access. Multi-factor authentication is another method that can make your app more secure. You can implement multi-factor authentication through One-Time Password (OTP) login or authentication code on emails.
Biometrics can make authentication even more secure. Biometric authentication measures and matches biometric user features to verify that a user is authorized to access a device or program. Biometric features are biological or physical characteristics that are unique to a person. The authentication system can easily compare biometrics features to authorized features saved in a database.
Moving Forward with Mobile App Security
While implementing the right mobile app security measures is essential, employing them through the development lifecycle is even more critical. Once an app is developed, adding new security measures is not only difficult but requires time and effort from developers. Therefore, you have to implement security measures from the very beginning of the process. These security measures include authentication, authorization, secure data transmission, and secure storage.
About ComponentOne Security and Encryption
To protect our customer's privacy, our product integrity, and our digital rights, GrapeCity ComponentOne products use various encryption techniques and services. These techniques include protocols such as, but not limited to, SSH, SSL, TLS, and HTTPS, as well as Microsoft Strong Naming and Authenticode signatures of our products. Standard and proprietary encryption algorithms are used for licensing and aid in preserving our digital rights.
While our components do not provide encryption algorithms for storage or transmission of application data, the applications in which they are used may present, store, and/or transmit data.
Try ComponentOne UI Controls Free for 30 Days Download the latest version of ComponentOne Studio Enterprise
Try ComponentOne UI Controls Free for 30 Days
Download the latest version of ComponentOne Studio EnterpriseDownload Now!