10 Best Practices for Ensuring Security of Data on Mobile Applications

Many apps store sensitive user information such as banking and personal health info, and one security breach can have a devastating effect on your company. According to a 2020 report by IBM, the average cost of a corporate data breach is a staggering $3.93 million.

Creating apps puts you in a position of responsibility. Mobile app developers need to do everything in their power to protect user data. Here are 10 best practices to build security into app:

Be Aware of Common Mobile Application Threats

Hackers are using their technical expertise to barge into applications and leverage their potential and value. These hackers send emails and pretend to be working for reputable companies, to fetch the users’ information, including login credentials and security passwords, and misusing the information later to cause damage.

MITM (man-in-the-middle) attackers intercept the communication between two systems. This can happen via emails and social media. Phishing, vulnerable operating systems, and data leaks are other common threats that developers need to be on top of.

Write Secure Code

Research shows that malicious code is affecting over 11.6 million mobile devices at any given time. When writing your code, make sure that it is airtight from day one and repeatedly test the code. Minimise your code so it cannot easily be reverse engineered and broken into. Focus on making the code hard to access, but easy for you to update regularly to prevent hackers from gaining access to your application.

Encrypt All Data

Create encryption in lower OS versions (especially older Android versions) because the operating system doesn’t offer as many security mechanisms as for newer OS versions. Install additional security mechanisms for these users.

Create an encryption policy that everyone in your company follows. Encryption policies ensure that data is encrypted whenever you believe it’s required. A SSL will help encrypt data that travels across a network; however, it won’t protect data stored in a database. Create an extensive encryption policy that addresses all these data security issues and encryption management processes.

Be careful with external libraries

While third-party libraries may be useful in some cases, they pose a risk in others. Check the code in open community libraries as well as independent libraries before you use it in your app.

Choose APIs Carefully

APIs should be implemented to integrate third-party libraries and services. They have been of great use for quick and easy app developments but can have cybersecurity risks. Ensure maximum application security by using centralized authorization.

Use High-Level Authentication

It is important to use stronger authentication. Design your apps to only accept strong alphanumeric passwords that must be renewed after a few months. While a lot of this is the responsibility of the app user, developers also have a responsibility to encourage users to be aware of the vulnerabilities involved in poor authentication, as this is one of the most significant app vulnerabilities. An identification, authentication, and authorization procedure are necessary to limit access to your app to your developers and users only.

Deploy Proper Session Handling

“Sessions” on mobile last much longer than on desktops. Use tokens instead of device identifiers to identify a session. Tokens can be revoked at any time, making them more secure in case of lost and stolen devices. Enable remote wiping of data and remote log-off from devices.

App Sandbox

All apps running iOS or Android run in a secure place called “sandbox”. The sandbox is a set of fine-grained controls that limits the app’s access to the file system, hardware, user preferences, etc. Make your app more secure by incorporating the sandbox system.

Store Data Safely

Although your app might require access to sensitive user information, your users will grant your app access to their data only if they trust that you will safeguard it properly. HTTPS encrypts all messages sent between client and server and protects them against simple man-in-the-middle attacks. HTTPS is easy to add to your server and with services like Let’s Encrypt. The HTTPS protocol is secured by TLS (Transport Layer Security) as well as SSL (Secure Socket Layer), ensuring the privacy of your data and maintaining the integrity between a server and application.

Test Repeatedly

Invest in penetration testing, threat modeling, and emulators to continuously test your apps for vulnerabilities. Fix them with each update and issue patches when required. Proper testing and continual improvements can minimise faulty loopholes and ensure you are launching a secure platform into the market.

The Atimi team will always be there to help with your mobile app development related queries. Feel free to contact us for premium mobile app development.

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