Mobile App Security

Mobile app security is not a feature, its a necessity. In today’s era, usages of mobile app is quite high, almost every information is accessible online including financial transactions & information. Also, IoT enables mobile apps to communicate with other device, example : SmartHome etc.

Securing mobile application and data against exploitation is primary responsibility of mobile app development company / individual. Any breach in security will result into data exploitation and app user will abandon using app without second thought, which will directly impact app user base and so overall revenue.

What needs to be done to secure Mobile App ?

While working on user friendly interface and rich user experience, we need to focus on some of the below points also :

  1. Strong Encryption : By using encryption, we can ensure that data transmitted is not readable by anyone without decryption. Strong encryption is needed to store or transmit data, this is very effective way to save the data not to use in malicious way.
  2. Session Management : Handling session in mobile app need some extra precaution, reason is session in mobile app are longer than session in web applications. Proper management of session will help to safe guard in event of stolen device or misuse of device.While doing session management, focus on security and so it should be done basis on token rather than identifiers. Also, remote log off / wipe off is always an extra layer of protection to safeguard app user.
  3. Authorized API : Mobile apps are communicating to server via APIs, use of authorized API will help to protect misuse of API. API call should be done with valid token, and since token can also be captured so other approach is to use two way authentication to protect misuse.
  4. Storage Data : Mobile apps usually use storage to store data, this is critical for customer facing apps. As we know mobile data can be recoverable and can drive potential risk. Information stored in storage should follow encryption algorithm. This will help to safe guard from data leakage even post recovery of mobile data.
  5. Careful with Third Party Library : Mobile apps sometime needs third party library to achieve desired functionality. Carefully select third party library as many of them are not secure. Before using, always try to test it with all the possible use cases. Flaw in library can help attackers to run malicious code and crash / gain access of system
  6. Cryptography : Management of Key is very important when it comes to encryption. Ensure that you do not hardcore key. Its always advisable to use some good protocol of encryption like AES and SHA256 and you should not store your key in local device.
  7. Tamper protection : Major issue is with Android apps, are they can easily decompiled. Lot of online tools are available for quick decompile. Tamper protection is must to have to achieve secure mobile app. Good number of CopyCat apps were visible in play store and fooled millions of users. Tamper protection can help to safe guard and help to reduce damage caused by CopyCat apps. Obfuscated code is another way to safe gurd app code, but this technique is not enough as any seasoned developers or devops engineers can easily use deobfuscation to get actual code.
  8. Think like an attacker : While writing code, think like an attacker. Can you exploit it or not? Any minor issue, can give privilege to attacker to exploit. Since all developer can’t analyze and think in same direction so multiple code review cycle can help here for any mission critical App.
  9. Patch constantly : Security is not something which can be build and implemented once. Security measure captured today might not be sufficient tomorrow, so this is very important to keep security patch updated to surpass future obstacles.
  10. Testing, Testing & Testing : Multiple cycle and ongoing testing is the key of any application. Any minor update also require multi level testing. So its better to move to Automated Testing framework. Some popular automation testing tool like Selenium, QTP (QuickTest Professional) were not designed for cross platform. So, they are not best for Mobile app automation testing. Some common mobile app automation tools are Appium, Robotium and Ranorex etc can be used to get the automation testing done for mobile app.

Conclusion:

To develop secure and difficult to crack mobile app, there are some of the best practices needs to be followed. Cybersecurity has already proven its importance and clients / end users are interested in more secure application.

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