Tips for better mobile app security
Almost everything is accessible on mobile devices- from anywhere, at any time. From banking, fitness tracking to controlling devices in our homes. This is being driven by a multitude of apps and software that are connected to APIs and servers around the world to deliver services, data and value to the users.
All of this happens with well engineered security else company’s risk jeopardizing applications, systems, customer information and reputation as apps and mobile devices are targets for security breach. Arxan Technology’s 2016 State of App Security reported that 90% of apps surveyed had at least 2/10 of OWASP’s major security risks.
Mobile apps and the APIs that power them have the potential to make data vulnerable if they are not properly secured. As an app owner, you would expect the app to be secured
Customers expect apps to be secure, and it can be easy to take that trust for granted.
WHAT WE DO TO SECURE YOUR MOBILE APP?
If you are building an app or have an app on the app store, chances are you would have thought about app security. Here’s a look at a few tips for you to consider with mobile app security
Secure your app’s code from the ground up.
Software security needs to be the top priority from day one. With native apps, the code resides on the device once it’s downloaded making it more accessible to security threat. Many vulnerabilities can exist in an app’s source code, these can be avoided by code testing, experienced developers working on your product and error fixing time to time.
- Protecting app code with encryption.
- We stick with modern, well-supported algorithms coupled with API encryption.
- Test code for vulnerabilities.
- Hardened, secure app code should be portable between devices and operating systems, and be easy to patch and update.
- Some important things to keep in mind are the file size, runtime memory, performance, data and battery usage while securing the app.
- Even if one relies on app stores approval as proof that the app is secure, it would not be 100 % secure. Apps need to be tested and approved to be absolutely sure they are secure.
Secure your network connections on the back end.
Servers that an app’s API are accessing should have security measures to protect data from being leaked. APIs should be verified to prevent any sensitive information passing from client back to app’s server and database.
- Encrypted containers should be created for storing of data and documents.
- VPN (virtual private network), SSL (secure sockets layer), or TLS (transport layer security) add extra security to database encryptions.
Put identification, authentication and authorization measures in place.
Authentication and authorization technology help users prove who they are by adding another layer of security to the login process.
- If you are using someone else’s API for functionality, be cautious. You are relying on their code to be secure.
- Make sure that access provided to APIs is only for the parts of the app that are absolutely necessary.
- JSON web tokens for encrypted data exchange are lightweight and ideal for mobile security.
- OpenID Connect is a federation protocol specifically designed for mobile. It allows users to reuse their same credentials across multiple domains with an ID token, so they don’t have to register and sign in at each point.
Having a solid security strategy in place.
A large portion of securing an app is related to securing the API. APIs flow data between the user, the cloud and the application. They all have to be verified and authorized to access that data. APIs are at the center for content, functionality, and data, so ensuring proper API security is an important part of the chain.
- There are three main security measures that comprise of a well-built API security: identification, authentication, and authorization.
Testing the app software.
Testing app code is usually crucial in an app’s development process. Apps are being produced so rapidly, what should be an important step in the process often falls to the wayside to speed up time to market.
When testing for functionality and usability, experts advise to also test for security, whether your app is a native, hybrid, or web app. You’ll be able to detect vulnerabilities in the code so you can correct them before publishing your app out.
- Penetration testing entails deliberately probing a network or system for weaknesses.
- Test thoroughly for authentication and authorization, data security issues, and session management.
- Emulators for devices, operating systems, and browsers let you test how an app will perform in a simulated environment.
With a solid mobile security strategy and a top-notch mobile developer on hand to help you respond quickly to threats and bugs, your app will be a safer, more secure place for users — and ensure their loyalty (and your assets) for the future. Get in touch with our team to build secure mobile applications.