10 Tips and Tricks for Secure App Development
People are using mobile phones extensively these days. Smartphones,to be more specific, have changed people’s lives by providing them near computer-like digital accessibility and in some areas even more in terms of connectivity and features.
Adding more to it, various manufacturers and increasing competition has made the devices a lot cheaper than what it used to be about a decade ago.
People are now able to make use of the sophisticated technological masterpieces. This has become possible by the advanced and fast processors, temporary memory on par with that of traditional laptops, and other high-end hardware such as Camera, GPS, and so on.
While these are pretty common these days, these features were exclusively available with high end phones earlier.
But, what makes people glued their eyes on their smartphones is not just the basic features that a smartphone provides in stock, but the wide range of mobile applications that have been developed to make use of these features and to make the users’ experience of using the phone even more remarkable.
People have therefore been using these applications on a daily basis which range from being some simple application that provides the data regarding the hardware, to some high end video game that takes over the audience by a storm.
Being open source accompanied with tremendous programming support has made it possible for the businesses to continue making mobile applications for the sake of their audience.
But a major issue that this technology poses before the developers is the need of proper security. A majority of applications rely on the Internet connection of the mobile phones to work and for this reason; people are always connected to the internet.
However, the Internet even though an excellent development is not completely ‘Rainbows and Butterflies’.
Hackers are always at large and try to get into the devices all the time for their own personal profits, extracting sensitive information which may at times prove to be seriously damaging for the users.
Developers therefore have a serious obligation to develop applications that are completely secure and safe from the influence of the bad, an aspect which is often overlooked as we see the evidence on the news regularly.
That being mentioned, here are the 10 tips to develop a secure mobile phone application-
- 1 #1. Keep the objective in the mind right from the start
- 2 #2. Testing
- 3 #3. Don’t rely on free source codes
- 4 #4. Use reliable API
- 5 #5. Have the hacker perspective
- 6 #6. Minimize permissions
- 7 #7. Secure data
- 8 #8. Secure transmission and data encryption
- 9 #9. Use tokens for authenticity
- 10 #10. Protection against tampering
#1. Keep the objective in the mind right from the start
Mobile Application development is a tedious task and it needs revision all the time, changes are sought after, and done all the time.
It is important to include the security teams to scrutinize the developments right from the beginning, so that they can check the security issues that may arise with the developments.
Always consult the security team along with the ongoing developmental processes.
There is a reason why tech giants like Apple and Google arrange for competitions aiming to spot bugs and provide huge sums to the Bughunters. Despite being huge companies, flaws tend to arise.
According to a survey by NodeSource and Sqreen, a majority of developers are skeptical with regards to their applications’ security, and still fail to curb the issues. The way out is to test all the time repeatedly until the application is satisfactorily safe.
#3. Don’t rely on free source codes
There has been a huge trend among developers in copying segments of codes that are freely available online to accomplish their developmental tasks.
This necessarily makes the lives of the programmers easier. However, these codes aren’t always safe and must be scrutinized before implementation.
#4. Use reliable API
APIs (Application Programming Interface) are the tools that help the developers develop a software. Several APIs are available to make use of in order to develop applications for a particular platform.
Since these APIs provide codes which facilitate the communication between the software components, utmost care must be taken while considering APIs for development so that something fishy doesn’t leave the app vulnerable.
#5. Have the hacker perspective
Hackers have the sole job of exploiting system loopholes, and they work on it daily. One loose end can prove quite costly.
Developers, on the other hand, being builders, go through various responsibilities and therefore tend to overlook weak points.
Having a mindset of a hacker can prove quite helpful to overcome such vulnerabilities. Think about how this code can be exploited, and find out the necessary remedy.
#6. Minimize permissions
Mobile applications require permissions to access hardware and work accordingly. And someone who has access to the program, ultimately has access to the mobile phone features that are accessible by the app.
Every connection on a network should be treated as exploitable. Permissions should be taken only to access very necessary features so as to minimize the connections the application has.
#7. Secure data
Mobile phones contain sensitive personal data that can be taken advantage of. Apart from that, a mobile application itself stores a lot of personal client data that can be exploited.
Hackers hacking on the data can wreck developers as well. Possession of data is always a risk, therefore, either get rid of the unnecessary data, or store them in a secure database.
#8. Secure transmission and data encryption
Companies have lately been under the public eye regarding the safety and security of their applications.
Take for example the well-known Facebook, the alleged hacking of the Whatsapp account of the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has raised the public eye. The news proves how important is data encryption. Developers must therefore find a way to secure data transmission.
#9. Use tokens for authenticity
Phishers and hackers tend to extract user login data and take charge of their accounts. Even though an account is secured using a username and a password, it isn’t enough.
Tokens allow for a secure user session by generating tokens that certify user identity. In case suspicion arises, the token can be revoked, which makes user logins safe.
#10. Protection against tampering
There have been a lot of cases of rip-off applications which are available to download in the application stores.
People are fooled big time and become vulnerable to the malicious developers. Android apps are targeted the most, and therefore care must be taken to protect the application and to remain trustworthy in the eyes of the public.
Mobile application development is a huge task which in itself brings up a lot of hurdles that are to be overcome.
Even though security is something every developer pays attention to, sometimes it’s just not enough.
Apart from providing fascinating services, protecting the user plays a major role in becoming the apple of their eyes, for their damage is your damage. Better be safe than sorry.
Author Bio: Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, IoT, ChatBot & Blockchain savvy, designer, co-founder, Director of eSparkBiz Technologies, A Mobile App Development Company. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on IoT and ChatBot.