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5 Tips to Improve Mobile App Security for Your Next App

20 March 2018

More than 35% of the communications which are sent via our mobile phones are unencrypted and around 24.7% of the mobile apps used by us have at least a single high-risk security flaw. Poor security is a highly prolific issue which the mobile app industry is facing today. With a very high adoption rate mobile has become the go-to device for all, several companies are adopting BYOD(Bring Your Own Device) concept which helps to enhance the employee productivity. Besides this, recent studies show that a whopping 73% of the most used Android applications have been hacked, while the hacking rate of Apple iOS apps is marginally low at 53%. The mobile application distribution channels like Apple App Store, Google Play Store along with several other third-party marketplaces deliver a huge variety of mobile applications which bring value to the daily activities of the users, but are these secure?

The app developers have the responsibility to keep the user’s data safe, and security is a major issue which should be a major part of the app design rather than just being an afterthought. Here are five ways to heighten a Mobile app’s security-

 Build A Secure Mobile App

 In a typical situation, mobile malware bugs hit the mobile application design and its coding. A Kindsight 2013 research shows that more than 11..6 million mobile devices are infected by the malicious code and the number is growing by leaps.

This issue needs a desperate attention, the hackers can easily get a public copy of the apps and reverse engineer it much before you can get to the vulnerability.

The number of apps with a malicious content in their code is very high, such apps are termed as “rogue apps” and the hackers are taking no time to post them on a third party app store, thereby tricking the unsuspecting app users and persuading them to install these apps filled with malice codes. This makes several mobile users unknowingly compromise their gadgets and the data unknowingly. To beat such alarming issues app development companies should provide some robust tools to the app developers which help them detect security threats and take the necessary actions to secure the code and the app against any sort of tempering and reverse engineering.

 Updated Third-Party Libraries

Mobile applications are filled with several third-party libraries, which are a very sensitive and weak spot for the hackers who are looking for exploiting the software. Outdated libraries can make your app highly vulnerable to an attack. To combat this situation, always make a note of all the third party libraries which are used in your mobile application and make sure to check/update them at regular intervals.

Disallow Sideloading

Sideloaded applications are the apps which can be installed and downloaded from app stores other than the native ones. The biggest issue with these apps is that these don’t undergo any sort of security checks which are otherwise performed by the native app stores. A restriction should be put to use such sideloaded apps.  Moreover, app development companies should make sure they don’t allow apps made them sideloaded because the damages can be highly far-reaching. Hackers can easily infect any app and your business will have to take the blame for the damage to the sensitive data of the users.

Beware Of The Rooted or Jailbroken Gadgets

If you are making a very sensitive application for your business, the ones which include features like in-app payments or highly personalised information, it's very important for you to take more efforts and take security one step further. Security threat on the gadget level, through the jailbroken or rooted devices, put the mobile application at a very high risk of being compromised. To avoid this security risk, the app can be designed in a way that the root access is checked at the launch and disabled if there is any such access detected.

Platform-Specific Limitations

If you are developing an application for multiple mobile operating systems, it is very important to make a note of the various security features as well as the limitations which each of them bears, and code keeping in mind of it. As an app developer, you should take in consideration the different user case scenarios that can arise, have secure password support, and have a geolocation data support for the various operating systems to appropriately distribute and control the mobile app on the given platform.

All this being said app security makes a very important part of the mobile app development list. Throughout the whole phase of app development, the developers should take some suitable measures to mitigate the risks, evaluate and then remove all the vulnerabilities, and also ensure that the mobile application that is developed as a very highly-baked security feature from the get-go. 

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Lakhwinder Singh Lead Developer - Mobility

Lead Mobile App Developer, covers wide range of technologies applied to the development of websites and business applications too. Enjoys doing creative things in Mobile and is passionate about developing unique Mobile Products.

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