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Best Practices to Make Your Mobile App Secure
This topic is assigned to JustAlex
JustAlex 2019 May 07 12:46

Mobile devices have become a pervasive entity in human life and mobile apps have become a part and parcel of everyday life. With the economy of mobile apps soaring to new heights every day, the security concerns involved with them are also growing.

An analysis by Arxan on the state of mobile app security has revealed that about 97% of the top paid Android apps, approximately 87% of the paid iOS apps and about 80% of popular free Android apps already got hacked.

Even with so many statistics giving similar reports, the security of mobile apps seems to be getting worse rather than better.

Almost all types of apps from different verticals, such as financial services, retail and healthcare, experience serious security holes that are increasingly exploited by hackers to steal data as well as money.

Mobile apps are given more powerful features, for example, controlling Internet of Things (IoT) devices and carrying out financial transactions and, if their security is compromised, it is like opening Pandora’s Box onto the digital world. It is the time when developers must pay some serious attention to mobile app security issues.

Here are some recommendations to help you make your apps more secure.

1. Secure The Code

Apps should be able to inherently maintain the confidentiality of their code. They should also be able to ensure that the app code is safe from hackers and to prevent reverse engineering.

Sensitive information can be hardened at the binary level and application hardening can furthermore be done to protect your web applications. By keeping the code safe, you minimize the risk of exposing the vulnerabilities of the code to hackers.

2. Runtime Application Self-Protection

Some kind of self-repair mechanism and runtime protections are necessary to make your apps fight harder against security attacks.

Leading IT analyst Gartner and Forrester stresses the importance of Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) to provide real-time security.

RASP is a security technology built into the app or its runtime environment to enable the app to control execution, to detect attacks and to prevent real-time attacks. Investing in these technologies is a good way to ensure security.

3, Study The Hacking Tools

There are many hacker tools that are readily available on the market and that have been helping even complete novice hackers create hacked versions of apps and distribute them. Though some of these hacker tools are actually legit, their misuse can lead to serious security implications.

So, to provide the best security, you should know how these apps work and protect your apps against them. Each of these apps may fall under a category, such as app decryption, runtime binary analysis, patching, and code injection.

Study these mechanisms and find out if your app can withstand these types of attacks.

4. Give Importance to Testing

There is no better way than testing to prune away the security holes in your app. Always include a sound testing plan in your development project and make sure it is executed properly.

You should also remember to include all the different use cases, limitations and additional capabilities. In addition, you must design platform-specific test cases for the different mobile platforms, such as Windows, iOS, and Android, as well as for the different versions within each platform.

Get expert advice on mobile app security and web security to make your test cases effective.

5. Minimize the Risk Factors

When you understand the major risks involved in mobile apps, you can look for mechanisms to reduce them. According to a security project, OWASP, some of the most common mobile risks are:

  • weak server controls,
  • transport layer protection,
  • insecure data storage,
  • poor authorization and authentication,
  • data leakage,
  • broken cryptography,
  • security decisions via untrusted inputs,
  • client-side injections,
  • a lack of binary protections, and
  • improper session handling.

You should work on these areas first and avoid storing unnecessary data and sensitive data.

6.Security Switch

Make it possible to enable the high-security features and disable the insecure features of your app. This will make it easy for the user to decide upon their security and for you to concentrate on the most important security features.

You should also monitor and control the high-security channels and make sure your forts are well defended. The attacker does not care about the purpose of your app, he/she only cares about breaching it and you should hence give more importance to the high-security features.

7. Back-end Systems Security

Understand the difference between back-end infrastructures of a mobile platform and that of traditional methods. The authentication, transmission of information and storage of data might all be different on a mobile platform.

Always remember to include your back-end systems and network infrastructure in all your security evaluations and risk assessments.

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