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In this series article, we will discuss about Security checklist of mobile application which helps every developers to build secure mobile application. Almost every business has a mobile app on which it gives various features and facilities to its customers. The app stores display and transmit sensitive data. A business app that does not use proper security protections can put corporate resources and personal information at risk, which can lead to fines.
A Famous quote about Science is :
“Prevention is better than cure.”
So Let’s begin.
Security is always a concern when creating an application, but it’s often overlooked when developing the application. And what’s overlooked in the beginning becomes a dormant vulnerability later on that may threaten your business, but you might not be able to catch it then before something happens.
With ever-advancing mobile technology, mobile application security has become a vital topic that every major enterprise must consider and understand.
Sensitive information stored on a device could be lost or stolen, which can lead to a data breach, compliance violations, and expensive and/or embarrassing public disclosures.
Large organizations acknowledge mobile device threats and vulnerabilities and perceive that they have correct security protection.
Corporations nowadays leverage mobile applications to distribute relevant, critical data to their workforce, partners, or customers.The productivity regarding mobile devices comes at a price — security risk increases.
Mobile applications create yet another path into enterprise networks, allowing criminals, fraudsters, and hackers to propagate malicious code.
For that reason, it’s often best to account for security from the very start and it’s definitely not a time waste.
Mobile App Security Standards/Checklist:
There are a few practices that you could follow when creating an application that will help you create more secure applications on the go. Here’s the list that you could follow:
1. Securing the source code
Creating an impactful app and following every guideline to make it secure while leaving the source code open to anyone can result in security risks.
Most of the source code is often on the client side, such as UI and business logic. If this sensitive information gets into the wrong hands like hackers, then it could damage your business.
There is a process known as obfuscation, where the source code is changed in such a way so that it confuses the person who tries to read it and do some changes in it.
It does alteration in classes, attribute names to meaningless characters or names. The whole aim of this is to make the code too confusing so that nobody can understand it.
2. Securing the files and the database
It’s not enough to secure the code base, you also need to secure the data. You need to store data on the device for all sort of reasons, this data can include critical information such as user credentials or payment info, for that reason you should always make sure that the data you’re storing on the user’s end is encrypted to prevent its leakage.
3. Securing Communications
Network security in mobile development is not as trivial as it is for web development, and many companies and developers do not opt network security in their development process. It’s not enough to secure the data on the generation and storage points only.
Your application’s data should also be secured in transit, that means that sending and receiving data inside your application should be via secure mediums, with a VPN tunnel, SSL, TLS or HTTPS communication. This way, if anyone managed to eavesdrop on your network requests, they wouldn’t be able to decipher the data out and security will be ensured, otherwise, attacks such as packet-sniffing and man-in-the-middle would be a serious threat to your application.
4. Consider Data Portability
Data portability is the practice of using user data across different platforms and services. Like using your Facebook account to sign in other platforms like StackOverflow or GitHub. This allows you to leverage the security of the bigger companies and use it on your side, inside of implementing all the user’s authentication and private data all from scratch, it also makes it easier for the user as more people find it plausible to use their old accounts than create new ones.
A popular protocol for that is OAUTH.The simple flow of OAuth allows you to access the protected resources a.k.a user data on the other end by just storing the access token, which saves you the hassle of collecting and protecting that data.
5. Brace for Reverse Engineering
This might be more specific to Android applications since Android is an open source platform, which means anyone can look up the source code, make modifications on the OS any way they want. For this reason, you’ll need an understanding of the Java-based Android environment as well as of the Linux os kernel to understand the process and understand how you can protect your application against reverse engineering.
6. Perform Input Validation
Input validation is one of the most important practices of taking a user’s input, yet it’s often disregarded in the development process for the sake of “speed”. Input validation allows you to check the data supplied by the user to prevent malformed data. Input validation is very common in most frameworks, both on the web and mobile development and you should make use of it.
7. Use Cryptography wisely
Encrypting your data, or hashing the passwords doesn’t necessarily dictate that your application is secure. In fact, broken cryptography is the most common threat to mobile applications. You should avoid weak or broken algorithms and make sure that your program doesn’t use them. These algorithms include MD5, MD4, SHA1, BLOWFISH, RC2, and RC4. Cryptography is a strong element of security in a mobile application, and hence, if used correctly it can protect your application and data.
8. Implement strong authentication and authorization systems
One of the most important steps towards application security is to use strong authentication and authorization systems that consider salient features like privacy, session management, identity management, and device security.
9. Understand the platform and frameworks
Most of the mobile apps developed nowadays run either on Google Android or Apple iOS. Fewer run on Windows devices and Blackberry devices. Organizations try to create apps that run on multiple operating systems. These apps are known as hybrid apps. There are various companies that provide you hybrid app development services.
Mobile developers need to understand how security works on each targeted OS and the various risks that can come in these apps. Preparation against security threats can reduce them to a large extent.
Security has always been an issue in the IT industry. And at present, hackers are using newer methods to hack various applications. Hence, it is must to stay updated with all the possible security checklists.
10. Perform Penetration Testing
Penetration testing is one of the most important stages of securing an application as it can scan a wide range of vulnerabilities. It simulates what an attacker can do in various environments and modes of operation. A lot of people confusing regular software testing with penetration testing, but they are really different and serve different purposes, but you need to do both.
That’s all about in this article.
In this article, We understood about security checklist for mobile app development.
Security is everyone’s concern, it’s true that most users wouldn’t regard the permissions given by the application they’re using, and they can’t possibly tell if an application is secure or not. But should a leakage happen, it is going to be your responsibility as a developer.
There are various ways that you can consider in order to make your mobile app secure:
- Make your source code secure using obfuscation. It is a method in which the source code is changed in a form which is quite confusing. Hence, in case, your code is in wrong hands, he would not be able to misuse it.
- Use cryptography in a smart way. Don’t use weak algorithms while using this technique. Cryptography when used in a proper way, can provide high-level security to mobile apps.
- Protect app data on the device. Do not store sensitive data on your mobile app. If necessary, encrypt it with the latest encryption technologies.
- Penetration testing. It is different from normal testing and is quite effective in making a mobile app secure.
- Utilizing the data portability. Using Data portability, you can use the security offered by big companies like Facebook and Google.
- Making communication secure. Use VPN, SSL, and HTTPS in order to make the transmission of data through a secure medium.
- Understand the platforms and frameworks. If you create hybrid apps, you need to understand how security works on every focused operating system.
Thanks for reading ! I hope you enjoyed and learned about Mobile Application Security Checklist. Reading is one thing, but the only way to master it is to do it yourself.
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